• Part-time students in transition: supporting a successful start to higher education

      Goodchild, Allyson; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis, 2017-12-21)
      The transition into higher education is a critical time for all students. A positive early experience provides a strong foundation for future academic success whilst a negative experience can be destabilising for a new learner. To date, research has primarily focused on full-time undergraduates in order to explain the reasons for high attrition rates at the end of the first year. Less is known about the experiences of part-time undergraduates despite the fact that they make up over one quarter of the total student population (HESA, 2015). This article reports on a study to investigate the initial experiences of a group of part-time undergraduates who have chosen to undertake a degree at a small study centre run by one university. Using a mixed methods research approach, the research captured the lived reality of the experience and identified the contributing and negating factors that can influence a successful transition. Perceptions of the level and type of support provided for students during transition were gained from both staff and students. The findings confirm a heterogeneous group. Despite being highly motivated, the early transition period was generally characterised by a sense of trepidation and self-doubt as students took their first steps in higher education. The research highlights the complexity of the initial decision-making process for part-time students and the barriers they face. It concludes that a flexible but unified approach, involving tutors and the wider support services, is needed, as unique students require unique responses to their transition needs.
    • Transitions to motherhood: young women’s desire for respectability, responsibility and moral worth

      Calver, Kay; (Taylor & Francis, 2019-08-17)
      In the UK, teenage motherhood is depicted in the media and government policy as highly negative and problematic. Pregnant and mothering young women are constructed as socially excluded members of society who belong to an assumed underclass who lack responsibility and respectability. This article draws on the views and perspectives of pregnant and mothering young women in the east of England to examine how positive and successful subjects are defined and understood. It is illustrated how this group of working class young women negotiated and resisted their positioning as 'unfit' mothers and 'bad' citizens. Central to their narratives was a desire to reassert themselves as respectable and responsible individuals through engaging in education and employment in order to achieve financial independence. It is argued that this notion of respectability provides a limited and limiting understanding of inclusion and moral worth for working class young women.