Taking up a place at university: what do care experienced people say is important?
Subject Categories::L590 Social Work not elsewhere classified
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AbstractWhile the educational attainment of looked after children has been the focus of a growing body of research, much less is known about those care experienced young people who secure a place at university. This research aimed to explore the importance of a university level of education for individuals; the significance of a university education for care experienced people in the context of the changing world of work; and sought to understand the background and circumstances of care experienced people who do secure a place at university with a view to understanding how their progress could be replicated. The research foregrounded listening attentively to the experiences and opinions of care experienced people who had secured a place at university. Using a small self-selecting sample of fifteen participants data was gathered through questionnaires and interviews to establish the attitudes, behaviours and activities that these individuals identified as important in successfully taking up a place at university. A theoretical framework based on Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, capital and field was used to explain and interpret the data. Key themes that re-occur throughout this research were the importance of a strengths-based approach, the value of proximity in the genesis, application and interpretation of research and research findings, and the worth of granularity – making specific recommendations for social work practice. An important lesson explored at a range of levels was the difference between ‘knowing that’ and ‘knowing how’, or the necessity of ‘propositional knowledge’ being translated into ‘applied knowledge’, thus helping bridge the gap between research and practice. The research makes ten recommendations for social workers on how children and young people who are looked after might be better supported to consider the option of university. Rather than simply focussing on care experienced people as victims, it is better to acknowledge some are in fact active creators of their own lives. Learning from their experiences and expertise it might be possible to better support other care experienced people to successfully take up a place at university.
CitationGeoghegan, L. (2021) 'Taking up a place at university: what do care experienced people say is important?', University of Bedfordshire. Professional Doctorate thesis.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire, in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of a Professional Doctorate, the University of Bedfordshire
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