|Institution:||University of Huddersfield|
|Keywords:||H Social Sciences (General); L Education (General)|
|Full text PDF:||http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/24267/|
This thesis explores why a group of young people with level 3 qualifications, living within traditionally working-class communities, choose not to participate in HE. It discusses their expectations, motivations and aspirations and the social, cultural and personal factors that contribute to their decision making. The findings are drawn from a set of semi-structured interviews with 36 sixth form students. The research adapts a Bourdieuian framework and utilises a three-level methodology. Though the analysis considers the subjective points of view of the participants, with respect to their non-participation, it also pays attention to factors which appeared to have shaped and moulded decisions. Participants’ decisions appeared to be shaped by their place of study, their friends and family and, most importantly, by their parent(s) and this impacted on their aspirations and how motivated they were to participate in HE. The importance of academic-related support is evidenced throughout. It seemed to instil a sense of belonging and solidarity and was motivational. Without a guarantee of similar support, participants were not prepared to participate in HE. A particularly complex attitude to debt was also highlighted. Not incurring debt appeared to be a cultural rule, particularly when there was no guaranteed financial and employment related benefit to participation. This thesis argues that similar outlooks, backgrounds, interests, lifestyles and opportunities resulted in the adoption of shared practices, common patterns of reactions and accepted ways of doing things when it came to HE participation. This thesis helps us to understand why a particular group of young people has not been influenced in the same way as some others by the change in attitude towards HE. More specifically, it enhances our understanding of the complex, yet subtle influences that can lead young people to choose not to participate in HE.