How do care experienced young people make choices about progressing to Higher Education?

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Education and Professional Studies


Care experienced young people have reportedly the lowest
rates of participation in higher education (HE) compared
with any other social group, and for those who enter HE,
evidence suggests that they are making different choices
to the general student population. A recent study by
Harrison (2019, p.10) found that care experienced students
were more likely to be attending post-1992 institutions
than Russell Group universities, even when taking into
account entry qualifications. There's a significant gap in
research on how care experienced young people make
choices about HE participation. I will respond to this gap in
the literature by investigating how care experienced young
people make decisions about HE participation, with a focus
on course and institution choices, and the wider role of HE
study in care experienced young people's longer-term
strategies for adulthood. I will use a mixed methods
approach. I plan to survey care experienced students
currently studying in HE to investigate what influenced
them to study at HE, and the key drivers behind their
course and institution choices. I will also carry out case
studies of up to 3 virtual schools, following a cohort of
students through Year 13. I will use a combination of indepth interviews, focus groups and participatory
workshops. For my theoretical framework, I plan to
combine Markus and Nurius' (1986) theory of 'possible
selves', with Amartya Sen's Capability Approach (Sen,


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000703/1 30/09/2017 29/09/2027
2433653 Studentship ES/P000703/1 30/09/2020 29/08/2024 Fionna McLauchlan