DOES ABSENCE MAKE THE HEART GROW FONDER? – STUDENTS PERSPECTIVES OF CURRICULUM, ABSENTEEISM AND THEIR PURSUIT OF THE GOOD LIFE

Simon Edwards, Evie Parmar

Abstract


In 2015, major revisions were made to the breadth and content of the English national curriculum to ensure the country’s economic success in an emerging technological marketplace. Increasingly punitive sanctions were introduced to safeguard student attendance and subsequent attainment.  Yet student GCSE attainment has remained static since that time and attendance has decreased. The article considers these coinciding trends by presenting a study that explored 40 secondary-school students’ perspectives of their low attendance. Findings evidence their motivation to learn but also their growing disillusionment with curriculum content that is not easily accessible or seen to support a good life, which in turn has impacted their motivation to attend school. Conclusions call for collaborations to be developed between school leaders and students to help make explicit the pathways to a good life that the curriculum claims to support. Collaborations that may also address student absenteeism.


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