Lighting Some Candles
: An examination of the impact and effectiveness of an intervention programme designed to support vulnerable students as they transfer from primary to secondary school

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study is based on a mixed methods examination of an intervention programme designed to support children at risk of social exclusion during their transfer from primary to secondary school. The study has two main aims; to gain insight into the impact of the project on the experiences of children who are considered vulnerable at the primary to secondary school transfer stage. Second, the study explores issues of evaluation more generally.
In the English context there remain concerns about anxiety on transfer between schools and a measurable “dip” in attainment. The first chapter provides a contextual framework for the empirical work that follows. It highlights a gap in what is known about the transfer of vulnerable children who may be more at risk of facing difficulties at the point of transition. It also illustrates the lack of in-depth evaluation of small scale projects designed to ameliorate school transfer risks.
A mixed methods approach, examining quantitative outcomes and drawing on qualitative in-depth interviews with children, parents, and teachers was designed to meet the two main aims of this study. The second chapter outlines the methodology and methods that were deployed. The study then turns to document the findings from the study; one strand explores data related to the students’ attainments and attendance as well as their behaviour during the period of the intervention project. A second strand explores the perceptions of the participants and key stakeholders about the project and its outcomes.
The study concludes that more guidance on the use and evaluation of targeted support for vulnerable children is needed to supplement current national policy and practices for primary-secondary school transfer.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorPeter Kutnick (Supervisor), Meg Maguire (Supervisor) & Jane Jones (Supervisor)

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