Young People on the Margins
Priorities for Action in Education and Youth
Our society leaves too many young people behind. More often than not, these are the most vulnerable young people, and it is through no fault of their own. Building a fair society and an equitable education system rests on bringing in and supporting them. By drawing together more than a decade of studies by the UK’s Centre for Education and Youth, this book provides a new way of understanding the many ways young people in England are pushed to the margins of the education system, and in turn, society.
Each contributor shares the personal stories of the young people they have encountered over the course of their fieldwork and practice, combining this with accessible syntheses of previous studies, alongside extensive analysis of national datasets and key publications. By unpicking the many overlapping factors that contribute to different groups’ vulnerability, the book demonstrates the need to understand each young person’s life story and to respond quickly and collaboratively to the challenges they face. The chapters conclude with action points highlighting the steps individuals, institutions and policy makers can take to bring young people in from the margins.
Young People on the Margins showcases first-hand examples of where these young people's needs are being addressed and trends bucked, drawing out what can and must be learned, for teachers, leaders, youth workers and policy makers.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Young People on the Margins
Chapter I: Pushed out and left out: Understanding school exclusion
Chapter II: Special educational needs and disabilities
Chapter III: Mental Health
Chapter IV: Area-based inequalities and the new frontiers in education policy
Chapter V: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller young people
Chapter VI: Children who come into contact with social services
Chapter VII: Education without a place to call home
Chapter VIII: Conclusion
Loic Menzies is Chief Executive of the Centre for Education and Youth (CfEY), England’s "think and action-tank". Before founding CfEY he worked as a teacher, school leader, a youth worker and as a teacher trainer.
Sam Baars is Director of Research at CfEY. He has extensive experience designing, managing and conducting research projects drawing on a range of methods, from film-based participatory research to systematic literature reviews and statistical analysis of large-scale survey data.
‘This important book shines a light on a section of the pupil population too often overlooked, yet often in most need of our help.’
‘The book combines analytical rigor with humane concern, weaving pupils’ voices with analysis of national data. Each chapter explores a different sub-group of young people at risk, but the authors also expose the connections between them of poverty, trauma, disruption, discrimination.’
‘Young People on the Margins avoids easy criticisms of schools in favour of constructive reflection and recommendations on how we might do better in working with these young people to protect and include them.’
Professor Becky Francis, CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation and former Director of the UCL Institute of Education
‘This is a detailed, compassionate and insightful work that tackles head on the challenges facing this country's most disadvantaged young people.’
‘I read it cover to cover as there is so much to hear from young people in this book.’
Dame Rachel De Souza, Chief Executive of the Inspiration Trust
‘Loic and his team highlight sobering accounts portraying the experiences and realities of marginalised young people within education. It is well researched, unique and insightful.’
‘This book is a must read and is calling everyone within the education sector, to action. It has made me ask questions of myself as a teacher and reinforces my decision to work within alternative provision.’
‘For busy people, the taking action section at the end of each chapter provides a summary of what needs to be done in order to make necessary changes. Yet, no matter how busy you are, this is a book that needs to be read from cover to cover.’
Bukky Yussuf, Senior School Leader, Science teacher and coach
‘As policy makers and school leaders wrestle with a Covid-19 world and its aftermath, here's a 'must-read'.’
‘The case for more inclusively minded secondary schools a revival of youth services has never been more urgent. By cleverly interweaving powerful analysis with suggested changes for practice, Loic Menzies and the contributors he has assembled illustrate their arguments with vignettes of troubled youngsters which should persuade even the faint-hearted that the time to act on their good intentions is now’
Sir Tim Brighouse, Former Schools Commissioner for London
‘Young People on the Margins is a book that should certainly not be on the margins when it comes to educational practice. There is so much of value here for all who work with children and young people. The multiple examples and perspectives of what creates and contributes to marginalisation and disadvantage provide so much food for thought. The fact that this is articulated in such an accessible way with clear implications for practice makes it a must read for practitioners, academics and policy makers alike.’
Professor Sam Twiselton OBE, Director of Sheffield Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University
‘A typically thoughtful and thought-provoking book from the team at CFEY, going beyond cliché and generalisation to explore the biggest challenge our system faces.’
Ed Vainker OBE, CEO, Reach Foundation
‘Young People on the Margins presents us with a challenge. It asks the questions that reside in the space between policy and narrative. Every country talks endlessly about supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised yet very rarely do we see profound impact.’
‘What this book does is to give a voice to those people who often, as a result of the hand that they have been dealt, do not make the same gains in educational attainment, or the same progress in career opportunities as their more advantaged peers.’
‘If we consider the impact that Covid19 has had on our most vulnerable communities, there could not be a better time for this publication to help sharpen our resolve to create a more socially just society.’
Sir David Carter, Executive Director System Leadership at Ambition Institute and former National Schools Commissioner
‘This is a great piece of work in a messy, difficult area. Tackling these topics is courageous and Young People on the Margins makes the issues very accessible.’
Lisa Cherry, Speaker Trainer and Author
‘This book is a timely and important contribution to debates and discussions some would rather society did not continue to have. Those debates are decades old, so it’s clear we have not solved the issues raised. Which means we need to go on exploring them, and as this book does, doggedly seeking solutions that will bring justice, dignity, equality and peace into vulnerable lives. Some of their voices ring out, clear and brave and fearless, in this book. There is otherwise little for the comfort of those who would rather we didn’t pay due attention to children we have somehow placed in the margins of our concerns for far too long.’
‘It is informative, research backed, and rich in evidence. Its challenges to all of us need to be addressed – in policy, and in practice.’
Maggie Atkinson, Former Children's Commissioner for England (2010-2015)
'The arguments, data and personal stories offered in this book offer a cohesive set of insightful analyses that taken together set out a clear vision for a better way of working. Underpinned by hope and full of ideas for practical measures, this book provides a convincing and compelling account. I wholeheartedly recommend it.'
Andrew Peterson, British Journal of Educational Studies
'Whether it’s about early intervention, limiting unnecessary school exclusions or paying more attention to the home lives of marginalised students, this book should be a valuable addition to every staffroom.'
Melissa Benn, Schools Week
'The strength of Young People on the Margins is that it brings together and analyses different groups’ educational experiences to explore several facets of these educational margins.'
Benjamin Denecheau, Educational Review