The Experiences of Secondary School Transition for Deaf Children in Mainstream Education: A Participatory Research Approach

Prof Doc Thesis

Taylor-Baptie, E. 2021. The Experiences of Secondary School Transition for Deaf Children in Mainstream Education: A Participatory Research Approach. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsTaylor-Baptie, E.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Background: Primary to secondary school transition is a distinct moment in a child’s education which often evokes feelings of anxiety, stress, and excitement. Most children adapt quickly and successfully to this transition following an initial decrease in wellbeing and attainment. However, for some children including those with special educational needs, the transition process is more challenging resulting in long-lasting negative consequences. The challenge of secondary school transition may be accentuated for deaf young people who often experience communication difficulties and barriers due to a lack of deaf awareness within society. Research has suggested the wellbeing of deaf young people in early secondary school is poor, yet a systematic literature review revealed no research investigating the experiences of transition to secondary school for this group of young people.

Current research: This small-scale qualitative study aimed to empower deaf young people, investigating their experiences of transition from a mainstream primary school to a mainstream secondary school. Two deaf college-aged students were involved in designing the research and selecting the data collection techniques. Four deaf Key Stage Three students completed semi-structured interviews and ‘The Ideal School’ activity (a personal construct psychology technique). An adapted version of Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to incorporate the analysis of drawings was used to analyse the data.

Key findings: An idiographic approach is used to present the findings to represent the participant’s unique experiences of secondary school transition. A cross-case analysis was also completed which revealed five key themes: ‘Attachment’, ‘Challenges’, ‘Support’, ‘New Beginnings’ and ‘Equal Opportunities’. This study provides important implications for school staff supporting the transition of deaf young people, highlighting the significance of person-centred approaches. Support from a variety of individuals is seen as crucial in addition to familiarity and a nurturing and acoustically supportive school environment. Implications for Educational Psychologists and future research are considered.

Keywordsdeaf; secondary school transition; pupil voice; participatory; person-centred practice
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
Online27 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Submitted24 Jun 2021
Deposited27 Sep 2021
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