Exploring Literacy Provision for Post-Secondary Education Learners

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Educational and Child Psychology

  • Authors:
  • Stephanie Pipe


The introduction of the Children and Families Act (Department for Education, 2014) has enabled professionals to engage in work with young people aged 16-25. However, very little is known about the educational provision available to those young people with additional needs. Statistics from international studies have found that the United Kingdom (UK) has one of the lowest mean scores for literacy skills for this age range (OECD, 2013). Considering this, alongside the poor outcomes associated with low literacy skills, it seems an important area for more in-depth exploration to uncover examples of good practice. This study includes a systematic literature review aiming to determine the evidence for the ways in which post-secondary settings support the development of literacy skills for older learners. Subsequently, a series of interviews with three young people at a Further Education (FE) college were conducted. These interviews were informed by an Appreciative Inquiry approach attempting to explore the best of what is already happening in a fairly under researched area. The findings of the systematic review found a number of intervention strategies that had been evaluated in America, mostly with some success. There were various methodological limitations alongside significant gaps within the literature, for example, no research had been conducted within the UK and very rarely had the authors ascertained young people’s views on the support that they were receiving. The empirical study adopted a thematic analysis and found that young people were able to identify the support that they perceived to be helpful. They were also able to identify literacy skills that might be necessary in achieving their aspirations and the additional support that they would find beneficial. The final chapter provides a reflection of the potential benefits of this research related to evidence based practice alongside the dissemination plan for this work within the local context alongside the wider professional and research community


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2017