A Narrative Analysis of Young People with Experiences of Trauma, Poverty and Turbulent Educational Journeys

  • Abigail Marchant

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Educational failure has significant and life-long consequences for the individual, their families and society (Longfield, 2019; Machin, Marie & Vujic, 2011; Gewirtz, 2017). Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be excluded from school and experience educational failure (Graham, et al., 2019). Young people living in poverty, and who have Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and experiences of trauma, are particularly vulnerable to poor educational outcomes. This exploratory study, using a holistic storytelling approach, interviewed five young people over one academic year to create individual participant stories that communicate the lived-experiences and challenges that they experience. This study found that when their emergent needs (safety, security, trust, justice and self-esteem) and their Basic Psychological Needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness) (Ryan & Deci, 1985) were not being met in the home, community and educational contexts it was more difficult for them to cope and engage with their education. The provision of protective factors in particular contexts appears to limit some of the negative impact and provides opportunities for greater needs satisfying experiences. This study concludes that trauma-informed educational practices and mentors provide protective factors that might be more effective in supporting vulnerable young people from difficult home, community and educational contexts.
Date of Award14 Sept 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SponsorsEconomic and Social Research Council
SupervisorSam Carr (Supervisor) & Ceri Brown (Supervisor)


  • Trauma
  • Education
  • Poverty
  • Motivation
  • Youth
  • Charity
  • Inequality
  • Social-Justice
  • Schools
  • Restoritive
  • Youthwork
  • PRU
  • Excluded
  • Exclusion
  • Community
  • Narrative
  • Holistic
  • Story
  • Storytelling
  • Stories
  • Qualitative
  • Self-determination theory
  • Interviews
  • Creative Methods
  • Timeline Data
  • Cross-Context
  • Traumatised
  • Retraumatisation
  • Punishment
  • Behaviour management
  • Neoliberal
  • Detention
  • Isolation
  • Punitive
  • Policy
  • School Policy

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