The viewpoints of pupils regarding post-16 education and training opportunities: a Q methodology study

Rayne, Christa Danielle (2020) The viewpoints of pupils regarding post-16 education and training opportunities: a Q methodology study. DAppEdPsy thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The drive to improve outcomes for all children beyond the age of 16 has been a focus of the political agenda in the UK for several decades. Research in the area has suggested that compelling children to remain in education or training until the age of 18 can promote their academic outcomes and employability (Department for Education and Skills, 2007a). The Education and Skills Act 2008 consequently raised the age of compulsory education or training to 18. This change has, however, not been without challenge and a number of parties have raised particular concerns that the voices of children are not being heard on the matter (Widdowson, 2018) and that policymakers do not have a clear understanding of children’s needs in this regard.

It is often noted in the literature that children have the capacity to contribute in a meaningful way to the design of educational provision (Hart, 1992; McLarty & Moran, 2009). It is therefore important to explore the views of children regarding post-16 provision and the recent changes to the delivery of that provision.

A Q-methodological approach was adopted to explore the viewpoints of 32 Key Stage Four (KS4) pupils regarding post-16 education and training opportunities. This approach brings together the complementary nature of qualitative and quantitative research methods, revealing the participants’ subjective and divergent viewpoints. The data from the Q methodology study was analysed using a by-person factor analysis and the following three distinct viewpoints were identified:

1. Suitable, preferable and enhancing;

2. Unsuitable and impractical but preferred; and

3. Beneficial but an unnecessary requirement.

These findings show disparities among children and disparities between children and policymakers who have made assumptions about their beliefs. The identification of these disparate viewpoints helped to pinpoint implications for professional practice that could be useful in ensuring all children benefit from participating in education or training post-16.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (DAppEdPsy)
Supervisors: Lambert, Nathan
Keywords: Education, Compulsory; Education, Secondary; School children; Q technique;
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Psychology
Item ID: 61446
Depositing User: Lyons, Christa
Date Deposited: 25 May 2021 09:14
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 14:47

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