The Structure and Implications of Children's Attitudes to School

British Journal of Educational Studies 56 (4):382 - 399 (2008)
Abstract
The paper reports a study of children's attitudes to school based on a questionnaire survey of 845 pupils in their first year of secondary school in England, together with interviews with a sample of the children. A clearly structured set of attitudes emerged from a factor analysis which showed a distinction between instrumental and affective aspects of attitudes but also dimensions within these, including a sense of teacher commitment and school as a difficult environment. Virtually all children had a strong sense of the importance of doing well at school. However, a substantial minority were not sure that they would stay on after 16. There were few differences between boys and girls or between children from different socio-economic backgrounds but children planning to leave at 16 enjoyed school less and were less sure that it had anything to offer them. There was an almost universal commitment to the value of education but, for a minority, an ambivalence about the experience and relevance of schooling for them.
Keywords attitudes to school  participation rates  gender  socio‐economic status  factor analysis
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