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Ruth McLellan, Southampton Solent University Centre for Widening Participation, OU 24 th June 2010 Reducing the gaps: how to engage white working class.

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Presentation on theme: "Ruth McLellan, Southampton Solent University Centre for Widening Participation, OU 24 th June 2010 Reducing the gaps: how to engage white working class."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ruth McLellan, Southampton Solent University Centre for Widening Participation, OU 24 th June 2010 Reducing the gaps: how to engage white working class young men

2 What we know so far: a)£392m spent on widening participation activities from (House of Commons, 2009). b)HEIPR data - Males: 37.8%, Females 49.2% (DIUS, 09) c)Fewer than 1 in 5 young people from most disadvantages areas enter HE compared to more than 1 in 2 for most advantaged areas (HEFCE, 2010). d)Since mid 2000’s participation rate of Young Men increased MATERIALLY from 29% to 32% (HEFCE, 2010) WP MAKING A DIFFERENCE BUT BOYS STILL AN ISSUE

3 Research Aim and Questions: Aim: To examine what influences the decision making process of white working class young males (aged 15-16) and the impact that widening participation activities have on their decision making process. Research Questions: 1.To explore the decision making process that young males go through when considering HE. 2. To ascertain what influences young males decision to participate in HE. 3.To examine the impact widening participation activities have on young males and how this affects their HE decision making process.

4 Theoretical Underpinning: Wide range of Labour Government reports on widening participation Socio-economic gaps Gender gaps Impact of School Impact of Aimhigher Impact of self-perception/self-doubt

5 Research Methodology SCHOOLS: ‘Parkway’ and ‘Westside’ Secondary Schools (11-16) LSEG WHITE YOUNG MALES (Year 10) x 5 participants Adults Interviewed: 1)Head teacher 2)Deputy head 3)Head of Year (Westside only) 4)Nominated teacher 5)Careers Advisor – school based 6)Student mentor – (Parkway only) 7)Legal Guardian(s) 8)Aimhigher representatives Young People Interviewed: 1) Young males themselves (6- 10 times) 2) Nominated peer from school Observation of young males: HEI Aimhigher Easter Residential 2009: Humanities – Parkway School Science – Westside School

6 Research Findings: Theme 1: Impact of the School a)Potentially big impact on aspiration raising b)Head teachers aware, but not filtered down c)School places majority responsibility on Aimhigher to raise aspirations d)Teachers have “cupboard mentality” – do not see outside of their subject area e)Effectiveness of WP activities at the mercy of the school f)Targeting not effectively carried out

7 Research Findings: Theme 2: Impact of Aimhigher a)Residential/on-campus very strong impact b)Student ambassadors make a big difference – “they’re just like me”. c)Got to talk ‘language of HE’ with other students– reducing barriers

8 Research Findings: Theme 3: Impact of self-doubt/lack of confidence a)Boys don’t have language of HE b)Not completing forms = not attending events c)Teachers not reminding/re-enforcing benefits of WP activities d)Parents have limited/no experience of HE so cannot provide insights e)Leads to a lack of language – unable to participate in discourse and relevant narratives

9 Reducing the gaps(1): a)More exposure to WP activities b)Follow on from residential – keep momentum going – reinforce and remind c)Talk the language of HE (peers and Aimhigher Associates) d)Boost boys self-confidence e)Form filling – big issue – how overcome?

10 Reducing the gaps (2): Educating Stakeholders: a)Teachers regarding the role that they could play in affecting the decision making of white LSEG boys. b)Changing role of IAG – needs to be aware of issues with white LSEG boys. c)Aimhigher central – whole school training

11 Questions:

12 References: HEFCE (2010). Trends in young participation in higher education: core results for England House of Commons (2009). Widening Participation in higher education. Public Accounts Committee. Fourth Report of Session HEIPR/DIUS? See slide 2


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