Policy in England increasingly stresses the importance of enjoyment in education, both as a right in itself and as an essential support for learning. This paper draws on a large national dataset to focus on the perspective of young people aged 14–19 in England in 2007–2008.
It considers alternative ways in which enjoyment and learning might be conceptualised. It analyses the evidence from young people to explore their experience of enjoyment at school or college and their perception of its relationship to learning. It concludes that the form of enjoyment most
strongly perceived as enmeshed with learning is the least commonly experienced; and that policy that refers to ‘enjoyment’ as a general and undefined term fails to distinguish particular affective states that may or may not be supportive of learning.