An exploration of the impact of pupil grouping on peer relationships in three primary schools : implications for inclusion

Adderley, Rebecca Jane

Education
March 2015

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2015 Rebecca Jane Adderley. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

This empirical study took place over one academic year, in three primary schools in the North of England, with a total of 189 Year 5 and Year 6 children. Child voice was central to the research design and was used to explore the impact of pupil grouping on peer relationships and inclusion.

A case study methodology was adopted and data were gathered using focus group and individual interviews with children. Further data were collected using observations and sociometric methods.

Thorough analysis of the data found that children perceived that there were several reasons why they were grouped in particular ways. These reasons were related to perceptions of ability and perceptions of good working relationships. This study revealed that these decisions, made by teachers, did not have a negative impact on existing friendship groups. In other words, regardless of the grouping arrangements, children still remained a part of their original friendship group. However, the structure of ability grouping did create a notion that children were different and had different qualities and characteristics which were dependent on which ability group they belonged to.

By observing the actions of teachers in creating the groups and assigning meanings to these actions, opportunities were created for children to develop views that some children were intrinsically different as learners. Ultimately, the meaning and level of importance that children seemed to attach to these grouping decisions influenced who children believed they could and could not work with. Moreover, it influenced who children valued as a work partner. The conclusions drawn from the study provide new and original understanding related to the negative impact of ability grouping on peer relationships and inclusion. The more formal, structured and visible the grouping is, the more importance children seemed to attach to it and the greater its negative impact on inclusion.

Publisher
Department of Education Studies, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Messiou, Kyriaki; Hope, Max A.
Sponsor (Organisation)
University of Hull
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
3 MB
Identifier
hull:13058
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