An exploration of high achieving Black Caribbean young people’s racialised experiences of their secondary school education

Prof Doc Thesis

Carvalho Gomes, G. 2022. An exploration of high achieving Black Caribbean young people’s racialised experiences of their secondary school education. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsCarvalho Gomes, G.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The narrative around the educational outcomes of Black Caribbean students in the UK often revolves around low achievement and experiences of school exclusion. This study aimed to explore the secondary school experiences of high achieving students from a Black Caribbean heritage who attended their entire educational career in the UK, as the voices of this group have rarely been represented in research. It also aims to identify participants' educational aspirations and their perception of the support needed to achieve them. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to gather participants' views. A participatory element was introduced in order to ensure that the interview questions were relevant to the educational experience of this group. The interviews’ transcripts were analysed using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. A Critical Race Theoretical lens was also applied to the data, examining ways in which race and racism shaped the educational experiences of participants. In addition, this study was situated within a social constructionist paradigm. It assumes that the school experiences of Black Caribbean pupils are impacted by socially constructed narratives, which have been enacted with a socio-political agenda. Adopting this paradigm aimed at identifying ways in which these constructs operate for the marginalisation of Black Caribbean students within the UK Educational System. Results demonstrated that participants' experiences of secondary school were significantly impacted by systemic racism. This included teachers’ low expectations despite the strong academic ability of this group of participants. Factors intensifying and minimising participants’ racialised experiences were identified. These findings help to challenge notions of academic inferiority of Black Caribbean students due to the high academic ability of this group of participants. Tentative recommendations for Educational Psychology practice are presented and directions for future research are suggested.

PublisherUniversity of East London
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
File Access Level
Publication dates
Online21 Apr 2023
Publication process dates
Completed07 Oct 2022
Deposited21 Apr 2023
Permalink -

Download files

License: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
File access level: Anyone

  • 140
    total views
  • 172
    total downloads
  • 6
    views this month
  • 15
    downloads this month

Export as