From ‘pushed out’ to reengaged: experiences from a flexible learning programme

Michael Butson, Ruth Jeanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Disengagement from education is frequently reported as a reflection of persistent patterns of inequality. This research prioritized student voice to understand the experiences of young people who had disengaged from mainstream education. The current research aimed to understand why students enter a flexible learning programme, and explore how flexible learning can result in student engagement and subsequent academic success. A phenomenological case study approach was adopted incorporating semi-structured interviews. Furthermore, it was important to include the teacher’s perspective (as the researcher). Narrative inquiry and semi-structured interviews with graduating students concluded that disengaged students were ‘pushed’ out of mainstream schooling but subsequently engaged and became academically successful in an alternative education setting. Crucial to student engagement was developing student-teacher relationships and implementing flexible learning.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalPreventing School Failure
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Education inequality
  • flexible learning
  • student engagement
  • student-teacher relationships

Cite this