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Access Policy and Practice in Further and Higher Education: Investigating success as lifelong learning turns into widening participation Margaret Andrews.

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Presentation on theme: "Access Policy and Practice in Further and Higher Education: Investigating success as lifelong learning turns into widening participation Margaret Andrews."— Presentation transcript:

1 Access Policy and Practice in Further and Higher Education: Investigating success as lifelong learning turns into widening participation Margaret Andrews (PhD)

2 Overview Litany of research into failure of non- traditional students Kennedy (97), Archer et al (03), Quinn et al (04) Lack of research into the student experience (Silver & Silver 97) Lack of research into the under- represented student experience (Leicester 93) Lack of research into what works (Newby 04)

3 Backdrop FE is under-researched (Avis 04) Research into HE is data free (Silver and Silver 97) Kennedy Report – neutral WP practice WP uplift/ premium: FE & HE Post 92 & pre-92 HE Education in the market place Beacon and failing/ coasting colleges

4 Access & WP Access – social justice, movement, Freire (72), student-centred WP – voc HE & FE, 14-30/ basic skills Sixth forms, Sixth form colleges/ centres WP - economic needs New Labour WP – reproduction of structural inequalities WP: Academic (A) and utilitarian (a) access (Jones and Thomas 05)

5 Lifelong Learning Lifelong learning – A/access & equal ops Expansion of tertiary education – 1918 Act Post war debates – French and North American traditions of adult education OECD – 1970s lifelong learning Lifelong learning policy in England - Green Paper The Learning Age (DfEE 98) & Blunketts (00) speech at Greenwich Lifelong learning – employability (Griffin 00)

6 Participation - increase After 1992 universities increased: HE Students from 900,000 to 1,800,000 (DfES 03); 2m (DfES 03) Under 21s in HE: 15% in 98 to 30% in 93; 35% in 05 (HEFCE) 40% BME,16% White students at home : 3 million students in FE (FEFC) : 3.8 million student in FE : 6 million students in the learning and skills sector (DfES 06)

7 Positive Approach Interest in understanding why underrepresented groups succeed How/ if FE and HE enabled students to succeed Perspectives of those affected by WP policy: students, teachers, managers

8 Theorising success Bandura (97) – expectations & self- esteem Bourdieu & Passeron (77) – cultural reproduction Bourdieu (86) – cultural capital & habitus Spady (70) Tinto (75, 87, 05) – suicide, rites of passage; student integration Yorke & Longden (04) – lack of fit between the student and institution

9 Cont.. Astin (84, 70) – student involvement & commitment (I-E-O) Seidman (95) – early support; integrated advice & counselling Pascarella & Terenzini (70, 85) – tested Tintos theory: students early education experience & characteristics of PCET institution Learner centred management (91) Braxton & Lee (97) – tested Tintos theory of involvement: social activities, friendships

10 The Study Quantitative data from MIS v qualitative interview data 2 FE & 2 HE case study institutions Case study: facilitate multiple sources of evidence when researching numerous contextual variables (Yin 1993) Explain the social condition organisations work/ not effectively (Miller et al 04) Phenomenology: priority to the voice of the subjects (Miles & Huberman 94)

11 Cont… open mind – not blank (Denscombe 98) Ethical issues Data – documentary, interviews ( focus and 1:1), MIS, questionnaires, field notes Pilot: Interviews: 62 mature students; 41 FE & 21 HE 1st year of study; 28 staff incl. teachers, heads of schools, directors principals, professors Programmes: BTEC, NVQ, LOCN Access, BSc, BA, Certificates and Diplomas in HE

12 Findings - themes Geography: students & teachers Tension between mission & practice Meeting individual needs – who are they? WP and financial motivation Pedagogy – lack of Definitions of success Student Services Pre-entry IAG – prospectus Descriptors for students - deficit

13 Widening Participation …it exposes staff and strands students – how do you take students who have been used to a hierarchical, didactic model of being respectful [who] want to learn at the feet of Socrates…to a liberal, interactive model of learning? Being a student is a deeply emotional experience and …deliberately recruiting underrepresented groups (older male learners, students from Nigeria and Eastern Europe) exposes staff to accusations of racism, sexism, disableism etc. The middle aged women who never thought theyd get to university feel desperately insecure…unsure of themselves and lack confidence. They are often over dependent on their tutors; we must not strand these students. There is no funding which recognises that staff need time to prepare for working with under-represented students. (Head of School New University)

14 Widening Participation …were getting more white males in the 20–30 age cohort. That changes the dynamic because young white men have a particular way of behaving that is not the same as women full stop, generally. (Teacher - Old University)

15 Teaching I think on the whole the teaching is very good on this course because my niece is doing a course here and her standards of teaching doesnt sound the same as mine. I think weve got some really hard core, veterans teaching us, honestly. Theres some that are better than others but overall the standards are very good. And they do actually help, well its helped me, in particular. The programme manager, I suppose her lessons help to plan your study, stuff like that [James and Teresa nod in agreement]. And the passion that some of the teachers put into their classes! English literature, shes fantastic! [the two colleagues nod again and say umm simultaneously (Alicia, parent 11 year old, aged 30-39, Black UK, Access student, NBC).

16 Cont… Its easy to say what the bad ones. The bad ones dont acknowledge the level at which the class is at, the good ones do. The bad ones will do their standard lecture and thats it. Youre not allowed to intervene to ask questions and [they] will make you look stupid. Whereas the good lecturer will understand where the class and where individuals in the class are and will kind of welcome questions, even if they are, even if they may be silly questions. There is some sort of preparation; they havent turned up with their notes written on the back of a cigarette packet but are equally as flexible enough to follow where the class is. (George, White, Old Uni)

17 Cont… Teachers mattered – FE & HE Friends and family Tutorials Respect & disrespect

18 Respect … theres some teachers in this college that think were about 16. I do, I find it very offensive actually (Alicia nods). Sometimes yes, you just think, Im not a child, why are you talking to me like this? (Teresa, parent of 19 year old chid, aged 30-39, Access student NBC). Because youre older than me you find it more offensive than me but Im used to teachers talking to me like that. Teachers talk to young people like that all the time. (James aged 20, African Caribbean, Access, NBC).

19 Conclusion Institutional factors contributing to success Individual motivation FE managers, teachers & HE managers HE teachers Students instrumental definitions of success Unchanged institutions Strong social identity, networks & home base

20 Cont.. Hard working, frustrated, teachers and managers Students managed their dissatisfaction Students & staff, valuable resource Dissatisfaction survey – Elton 2004

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