Where do I fit it? Exploring how dyslexic young people experience social interactions in a mainstream secondary school.

  • Helen Ross

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Since the Children and Families Act 2014, young people and parents appear (on paper) to have a bigger role than ever in negotiating Special Educational Needs provision for themselves/their children. However, recent studies have suggested this is not necessarily the case (Craston et al, 2013a; 2013b; 2013c), particularly for young people with a hidden impairment, such as dyslexia (Ross, 2013b; 2013c). This current study explored the experiences of dyslexic young people, their parents/carers and their teachers in relation to dyslexia-related support interventions. Over 5 months in 2015, fieldwork was undertaken at Hilltop View School (pseudonym), in a ‘Pathfinder’ Local Authority (The Stationary Office, 2011) in the South-West of England. Young people, parents and carers, and teachers participated in focus group sessions and one-to-one interviews. Lessons were also observed. Participants’ understandings of dyslexia, it’s effect on young people’s self-concept and subsequent ability to negotiate social spaces to secure provision of resources were explored within a framework based on Jenkins’ (2008) ‘levels of interaction’, grounded in a Bourdieusien model of the social world. Through the use of this unique theoretical framework, participants were found to have differing capacities to negotiate their own social space at different ‘levels of interaction’ (Jenkins, 2008). Young people and teachers were found to have the best capacity to navigate their social setting at an ‘interactional level’ (person to person interactions), while parents appeared to have more opportunity to engage at the ‘institutional level’ (person/institution to institution interactions). This study provides an understanding of the experiences of stakeholders within a changing policy framework and provides a new theoretical framework within which to undertake investigations into the experiences of stakeholders in SEND provision.
Date of Award2 Nov 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorTina Skinner (Supervisor) & David Skidmore (Supervisor)


  • dyslexia
  • SEND
  • teacher experience
  • teacher voice
  • Bourdieu

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