This thesis explores multiple barriers to education experienced by students living in poverty and attending a secondary school based within one of the most disadvantaged areas in the UK. It reveals that students living in poverty experience multiple barriers during the course of their secondary education, some of which parallel the introduction of policy initiatives ostensibly intended to equalise education experience. The study includes a focus on the changing of a school to an Academy which took place mid-way through the research period. Very little first-hand research has been permitted within Academies to date making the investigation relatively unusual. Methodological tools included observation and interviews with students, school staff, and professionals associated with the school. The data shows that students living in poverty experience a range of barriers to secondary education. The transition of the focal school to an Academy was intended to raise standards but the research findings raise problems in relation to this agenda, including a worrying increase in the rate of pupil exclusions. It is concluded that changing the focal school to an Academy did not ease the barriers experienced by many of its students, but arguably resulted in new barriers being formed which negatively impact on staff, students, potential students and their families. \u
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