We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Function and Purpose of the
Shadow Education System: An Action Research Study of Post-16 Students’ Perceptions of Private Tutoring

REED, CLAIRE L.M. (2019) The Function and Purpose of the
Shadow Education System: An Action Research Study of Post-16 Students’ Perceptions of Private Tutoring.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


The shadow education system, as private tuition is known as on an international scale (Bray, 1999), is an increasing global phenomenon. Its growth has many implications: socially, we may be creating divides between those who can and cannot afford to pay for additional support; politically, it may indicate education systems are ineffective and economically it makes governments consider their investments in education (Jokic, 2013). The purpose of this thesis was to consider whether the shadow education system was detached from mainstream education in terms of its purpose and function.

Current research in England is limited to large scale quantitative analysis, typically with GCSE students. This study offered a qualitative design utilising post-16 participants to address this gap in the literature. The project consisted of four action research cycles, where one aspect of the research led to the development of the next. The first was a literature review, the second was an assessment of student definitions of private tuition, and the final two were semi-structured interviews with both tutored and non-tutored participants.

Analyses suggested functions of the two education systems are the same, yet in relation to purpose tutoring is predominantly sought to improve academic performance. Novel barriers to participation were noted by non-tutored participants, such as fear and time. Social inequalities, which may arise if tuition continues to grow, were also highlighted by the sample.

This research suggests private tuition is an inevitable shadow, which is unlikely to be removed despite classroom teachers’ best efforts. Local, national and international reforms may need to be implemented if tuition impacts educational outcomes, to prevent societal divisions. The project concludes that the views of a wider demographic are needed, alongside the consideration of the actual academic benefits of private tuition.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Private Tuition; Shadow Education; Post-16 Education; Tutoring; Purpose; Function; Action-Research; Practitioner Enquiry; Student Perceptions; Visual Methods; Diamond Ranking; Interviews; Students
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Apr 2019 08:56

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter