University of Leicester
ECER 2012 OD paper presentation text HCB 2 Sept 2012.pdf (375.22 kB)

Access to Higher Education? Understanding Access Students’ perspectives on the transformations of their Learning Identities and Careers in Changing Policy contexts

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conference contribution
posted on 2015-03-05, 12:31 authored by Hugh Busher, Nalita James, Beth Suttill
The small scale study on which this paper is based focused on mature students on Access to Higher Education courses in the Social Sciences / Humanities in three Colleges in the East Midlands of England during the academic year 2011-2012. In the course of one academic year, the study collected data from about five self selecting. Access students in each College through focus group interviews on three occasions (November, March and May) as well as individual audio diaries with them and individual interviews with their tutors. It interrogated the views and experiences of learning of these students and their tutors in order to investigate the nature of Access students' transformations and transitions as learners in particular economic and policy contexts. The qualitative data was audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed manually using a form of thematic analysis which also tried to take account of participants own constructs of themselves and their experiences. Although the findings cannot be generalised to a wider population than its participants, the themes that emerge raise questions that need to be consider in other similar institutions. Preliminary findings suggest that educational access, personal circumstances and school experiences are a key part of the students’ learning transitions. Institutional practices and structural circumstances influence their learning transitions. Students claimed that reasons for joining Access courses reflect a growing uncertainty in the economic climate and a search for new or more rewarding careers than they currently had.


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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Education


European Conference on Education Research, University of Cadiz, Spain


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