Perceived expectations and young peoples’ self-perceptions; exploring disadvantage in the context of a grammar school


  • Gemma Linnell


Grammar schools are a stereotypical context of privilege, and the UK government has plans to expand selective education due to beliefs about its ability to improve social mobility for disadvantaged students, as deemed by their socio-economic status. This research uses an indirect interview approach as part of the wider MaCE (Marginalisation and Co-Created Education) project, to access young peoples’ lived experiences of disadvantage, here in the context of a grammar school. An analysis of the emergent themes across the interviews suggests that the perceived expectations from teachers and the school context, shaped the young peoples’ view of success. Evaluating their capabilities and interests against this view of success, helped the young people form their self-perception. As self-perception has numerous consequences for the attainment and mental health of young people, it is suggested that misalignments of perceived expectations against self-perceptions constitutes a wider definition of disadvantage both in education and into adulthood. As such, there are a number of recommendations made for both school practitioners and policy makers.