Fionna McLauchlan

Thesis title:

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


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 in-depth interviews, focus groups and participatory workshops.

First supervisor:

Jennifer Driscoll


6- Education, Mind & Society