Triumph against adversity: how ‘access to social work’ students’ in FE colleges exert individual agency and overcome structural barriers to gain entry to HE.

Dillon, Jean (2010) Triumph against adversity: how ‘access to social work’ students’ in FE colleges exert individual agency and overcome structural barriers to gain entry to HE. In: Promoting Equity in Higher Education, 27-28th January 2010, Nottingham. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

The paper critically explores the discursive construction of ‘non-traditional students’ characterised in widening participation policy, which generally depicts such students as having failed first time around and thus in need of rescue, or special measures. Such constructions are arguably predicated on a cultural deficit model and do not present an accurate picture of the complex, multi-faceted life trajectories of students which influence higher education choices, and choices to pursue vocational routes to higher education. Findings from a small doctoral studies research project are drawn upon. The study entailed interviewing a small sample of students on an access to social work course at a college in North London. The findings illustrate that non-traditional students’ life trajectories are often characterised by significant barriers relating to socio-economic advantages, for example, financial concerns and limited time to study because of work and/or family commitments, that these students don’t s. These barriers translate into struggles which make even getting to the ‘starting point’ of higher education a major achievement per se for these students. Nonetheless, these students didn’t perceive themselves as having failed previously in relation to prior educational attainment, rather they were strongly motivated to go on to higher education and considered they could make real contributions to caring professions such as social work (204).

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Health and Education > Health & Education
ID Code:4797
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Deposited On:08 Apr 2010 15:46
Last Modified:19 Jul 2014 13:46

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