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Disadvantage, educational social mobility and barriers to student engagement: An exploration of the Psychosocial and Academic Trust Alienation theory across educational practice

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Caroline Sarah Jones corresponding author


This article explores the original concept of the Psychosocial and Academic Trust Alienation (PATA) theory across the education sector, specifically focusing on barriers to student engagement for disadvantaged students and educational social mobility. It begins with an examination of the terms `disadvantage and educational social mobility' followed by a discussion of the context of the educational experiences of disadvantaged students aged 0-19 years old in the UK. An exploration and definition of the PATA theory and the subsequent links to barriers to student engagement in educational practice is then presented. Subsequently, age-appropriate case vignettes demonstrating how the PATA theory can be identified or experienced in practice are presented. Thereafter, practical teaching and learning strategies based on the concepts of the PATA theory for educators, leadership teams and Governments can be found. These strategies aim to stimulate educational pedagogy when supporting the most disadvantaged students in education. Therefore, the contribution of this article to the field of educational psychology is firstly, the acknowledgement of the presence of the PATA theory across educational age ranges, secondly it provides insights into the educational psychological barriers to engagement for the disadvantaged student demographic, and thirdly it proposes practical strategies for supporting disadvantaged student progression thus contributing to educational social mobility.

education psychology, student engagement, social mobility, PATA theory

Article Details

How to Cite
Jones, C. S. (2023). Disadvantage, educational social mobility and barriers to student engagement: An exploration of the Psychosocial and Academic Trust Alienation theory across educational practice. Advances in Developmental and Educational Psychology, 4(1), 160-174.


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