Imposed Identities and British Further Education
The Experiences of Learners Classified as "Low Ability"
Author(s): Javeria K. Shah

Narratives from GCSE-failed UK learners, classified as “low ability”, told in their own words: on being funnelled into vocational courses, and the lack of agency and impact on their post-education destinations

Collection: Education Studies
ISBN 9781915271150
 Publication Date
  Pages 172





What is the impact when a social identity is not chosen and embraced, but imposed upon you?

UK policy can be criticised for pressurising the education sector to funnel learners who fail their GCSEs into vocational learning courses such as Media Studies. With narratives drawn from the original, person-centred research conducted by the author in the Further Education sector, this book centres the often-discounted voices of the so-called “low ability” learners themselves.

They tell of the lack of agency that comes from having choices made for them, and the impact on their lives and identities as well as their post-education destinations. Featuring stories from a range of individual research participants, the book also explores intersectional issues, such as how race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and language of origin can feed into the imposed identity and how it impacts their sense of self.

Chapter 1: The Further Education policy context
Learning objective: Understanding the FE landscape
Chapter 2: Meet the staff
Learning objective: Policy enactment
Chapter 3: The experiences of negatively classified learners in their own words
Learning objective: Drawing on young people’s experiences
Chapter 4: What can we learn?
Learning objective: What can we learn?

Javeria K. Shah PhD is an interdisciplinary academic specialising in sociology, media education, and policy. She holds a range of academic and scholarly roles, including at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London; and on a visiting basis at the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University; the University of Winchester; and the University of Arts London. She is a member of the Post-14 Education and Work think tank based at the Institute of Education, University College London, and a document reviewer for Parliament’s Knowledge Exchange Unit.

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