Problematising pupil voice using visual methods: findings from a study of engaged and disaffected pupils in an urban secondary school

This article explores how pupils and teachers in an 11–16 mixed secondary school in an area of urban disadvantage in the UK experience pupil voice. It used visual methods to unpick some of the ways in which official and unofficial discourses of pupil voice, engagement, discipline and inclusion were played out in this school. A typology of pupils, based on analysis of school policy documentation was produced. Whilst these ‘types’ were expressed through pupil scrapbooks and interviews, they were not found to be related to individual pupils in the way that the school policy documentation suggests. Adults respond to pupil voice differently depending on how it is framed—the ‘types’ create discursive practices that determine the things that can be said, by whom and in what way. The visual methods used are reviewed here in the light of findings and are found to be useful in eliciting a range of pupil voices.