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Title: Becoming a pupil: using ethnography to explore the experience of starting school
Author: Fisher, Abigail
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis is about how children experience starting school in England. Starting school is a time of transition for all children, and experiences at this time can have a lasting impact on children. Moving into an educational institution with associated rules and systems presents social, emotional and cognitive challenges for a young child. Most children in England start school in the September before their fifth birthday and children born in the English summer months are thus the youngest. Statistical analyses reveal that as a group these children achieve less than their older peers throughout school. The study uses an ethnographic approach and focuses on five of the youngest children. The researcher visited the reception classroom intermittently over a period of five weeks and adopted a role as a participant observer. Three of the children also took part in a child focused photography activity. Two teachers and three parents were interviewed. The ethnographic analysis explores each child's individual experience as well as overarching themes which relate to the classroom and broader curricular issues. Issues raised by the analysis include how different the children's experiences with rules and authority were, and how this affected their relationships with the teacher. This thesis offers in-depth insights into children's experience in the classroom which allow the reader to apply the findings to other situations. I suggest that Educational Psychologists have much to offer schools on general teaching issues, such as how best to support all children at this important time of transition. Policy implications such as the need for a diverse approach to school readiness and more exploration of the curricular tensions experienced by teachers in reception classrooms are are discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.Psychol.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available