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Can a targeted intervention programme promote change in the educational aspirations, attitudes and beliefs of a group of underachieving white British disadvantaged girls?

Wilson, C. (2020) Can a targeted intervention programme promote change in the educational aspirations, attitudes and beliefs of a group of underachieving white British disadvantaged girls? EdD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00096801


The gaps in academic standards between students receiving free school meals and their peers is significant. By the end of secondary school, the most disadvantaged students are on average two years of learning behind their better-off peers. Among girls, the difference is even more stark. These students often demonstrate weaker character/essential life skills such as a general lack of motivation, resilience and determination and have low attendance. The research centres on closing the attainment gaps for disadvantaged girls. The purpose is to investigate whether an intervention programme based upon research in the field of resilience could affect positive change in female students in order to impact upon their levels of achievement as well as their possible future aspirations, their resilience factors and retention at Sixth Form or College post Year 11. The thesis looks at the intrinsic factors that impact upon female students, such as values, motivations, aspirations and resilience, as well as extrinsic factors such as exam results, school, community and family. The research uses the Child and Youth Resilience Measure - 28 (CYRM28) and qualitative interviews to measure students’ resilience levels and attitudes to school, achieving and aspiration before and after an intervention programme. The intervention programme focuses on developing qualities and the protective factors that contribute to resilience such as developing problem solving skills, having at least one supportive adult they can turn to within school, helping students to formulate plans for the future and supporting others through volunteering and developing selfsoothing techniques. The findings from this research suggest that academic resilience does impact both positively and negatively upon academic achievement, attitudes to learning and as a result future life chances and aspirations. They also show that resilience is complex and can be developed given the right conditions but is also something that can decrease depending on situations, experiences and interactions which happen both in and out of school. It opens up possibilities for future research such as how schools could consider developing strategies to build resilience and develop students’ sense of identity and feelings of self-worth for a particular demographic who do not necessarily identify with a culture or belief system.

Item Type:Thesis (EdD)
Thesis Supervisor:Fuller, C.
Thesis/Report Department:Institute of Education
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education
ID Code:96801


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