Williamson, Iain and Cullingford, Cedric (2003) ‘Everybody’s a Nobody in School’: Excluded Students’Perceptions of the Threats to Autonomy in the English Secondary School. Young: Nordic Journal of Youth Research, 11 (4). pp. 309-321. ISSN 1103-3088

The experiences of 20 male young offenders who had been excluded from secondary school are reported in this article. Participants were interviewed about their school experiences and data analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Three themes are discussed here. The first relates to participants’ perceptions that their individuality and autonomy were threatened in the school environment, which was believed to value conformity and uniformity. The second reports a particular dislike of certain rules and the ways in which rules were enforced. Finally, participants discussed the appeal of material consumption, which allowed for the purchase of goods which enhanced their sense of individuality. Most of the money acquired by participants was through crime practised whilst truanting. These results are discussed within Eccles et al.’s (1993) stage-environment fit framework.

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