Torgerson CJ, Gorard S, Low G, Ainsworth H, See BH, Wright K (2008)
The desire to widen participation in formal post-compulsory education and training is a policy agenda common to most developed countries, and political attention in the UK has largely focused on young (potential) students aged 16-21. Given that some minority ethnic groups have higher rates of participation in the UK at both age 16 and 18 than both the majority white cohort and some other minorities, identifying potential determinants could lead to a method of increasing participation for all.
The overall aim of this review, therefore, was to determine the factors that drive high post-16 participation of many minority ethnic groups.
UK-based cross-sectional/views studies and secondary data analyses were included to address the review question. These studies either elicited students’ views and/or aspirations about education or investigated the clear relationship between aspirations and educational variables. A conceptual framework informed the synthesis through a particular focus on themes relating to post-16 factors (‘promoters’ and ‘non-promoters’) grounded in the data, in the following categories: government policy, institutional practices (universities and schools), external agencies, work, religion, family, individual aspirations and other factors.
There were 23 studies included for in-depth analysis. These examined relationships and/or statistical analyses with regard to the factors that could be instrumental in determining young people’s views about post-16 participation by considering a variety of variables. Two factors – the influence of family and individual aspirations – stand out as being the major determinants. Sixteen studies found that a high parental value of education, strong parental support for post-16 participation, positive family influence, and being in a higher social class were determining factors in participation in schools post-16 and in further and higher education. On the other hand, eight studies found that a low parental value of education, parental influence against post-16 participation, negative family influence, and being in a lower social class could be factors acting as barriers to post-16 and further and higher education. Fifteen studies found that individual aspirations and motivations for participation in post-16 education were major drivers for participation – not only in terms of aspiration for education as an end in itself and for economic gain and better job opportunities, but also in simply placing a high personal value on education and a belief that this would lead to personal satisfaction.
The review was funded through the EPPI-Centre by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and by the University of York .
The full review is available on the EPPI Centre website.