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How we're researching

The research team is using a combination of different data collection methods across the life of the project, including:

National-level statistical analysis of student destinations

The project will be using national-level statistical analysis of student destinations to provide a large-scale mapping of which groups of young people are getting access to which qualifications and how this access is shaped by combinations of factors such as young people’s social class backgrounds, their gender, ethnicity, special educational needs and disabilities, the kinds of school or college they go to, and where they live.

 A national longitudinal survey

Over 10,000 young people living in different places in England have participated in our survey. We are asking them about:

  • their values and aspirations

  • the support and resources they feel able to draw on as they make their education, work and future life choices

  • their experiences of education work

  • the barriers they encounter.

500 in-depth interviews

We are interviewing policymakers, practitioners, young people and their parents/carers across four contrasting local areas. These interviews are giving us more detailed information on:

  • who is getting access to which opportunities

  • what young people value

  • how they exercise their agency

  • their experience of navigating a transitions landscape in which they are differently resourced and positioned

  • the implication of all of this for equality, policy and professional practice.

Cross-national comparison

In the final stages of the project we will organise a symposium bringing together leading scholars from France, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. The symposium will provide insights into the ways in which the different factors that shape learning opportunities, such as education systems, labour market characteristics, welfare systems and cultural values, interact with each other in these different countries. The insights gained from this exercise will be used to identify potentially fruitful lines of further analysis of our survey and interview data.

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