Lucy Robinson

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Education (2020 cohort)

Service children are identified by virtue of their parent’s (or parents’) occupation. Their lives are shaped by the occupational requirements of the Armed Forces. Service children are more likely to move (home and school) than their civilian peers and parental separation (such as weekending and deployment) is common amongst service families. Alongside these experiences of mobility and separation, being part of an Armed Forces family results in the creation of a distinct identity, which further sets them apart from their peers. As a result of this, service children have unique educational experiences, associated needs and a distinctive identity which are not fully understood, or supported, in an educational context.

Therefore, my doctoral research engages in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how service life has shaped their experiences of education and sense of self. By choosing this focus, the research aims to widen and nuance current understanding of service children’s educational experiences in addition to furthering knowledge into how service children see themselves. As a result of this, it is hoped that the research will support in developing the professional body of knowledge and understanding of this group of children in schools and help inform the Service Pupil Premium (SPP) funding choices in addition to wider school practice.

Before embarking on my DPhil at Oxford, I completed my PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. As a service child myself, I have lived experience and with that, a deep compassion for children who experience challenges in education because of their backgrounds. In addition to my DPhil work, I am Trustee for the Armed Forces Education Trust (AFET); a grant-giving charity for service children.

I am very grateful to the ESRC for acknowledging the value of my research and supporting me to work towards improving the educational experiences of service children.