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Lone parents: addressing barriers to participation in post-compulsory education

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 14:42 authored by Tamsin Hinton-SmithTamsin Hinton-Smith
The research was part of Equal, a European Social Fund initiative addressing labour market discrimination. Increasing educational participation amongst ‘non-traditional’ students can be viewed in terms of the philanthropic goal of extending opportunities to individuals, or structurally in terms of the globalised economy’s demand for skilled labour (Naidoo & Callender, 2000:227). Decreasing numbers of school leavers necessitate casting the net beyond traditional groups (Gallagher et al, 1993:2; Edwards, 1993:5), implicating responsibility for promoting positive student experiences for non-traditional students targeted by the education system. Lone parents report sacrifices in pursuit of education including debt, placing children in childcare, and loss of family time, support networks and jobs. Mature and working-class students’ low completion rates (Yorke, 2001:148) highlight difficulties managing learning with other adult responsibilities. Hands et al observe student parents’ particular susceptibility to non-completion (Hands et al, 2007:25). Institutionally, non-completion represents ‘wasted’ investment. Providing inadequate support also fails vulnerable students, setting them up for failure and exacerbating frequently low self-esteem and confidence (Murphy & Roopchand, 2003:247,256; Greif, 1992:570). The present research illustrated how negative school experiences often result in lengthy educational gaps. Institutions are responsible for ensuring that individuals’ self-esteem is not further damaged by failure through inadequate support.


Publication status

  • Published

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Proceedings of SRHE Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference on Reshaping Higher Education; University of Sussex, UK; 10 December 2007


Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE)

Event name

SRHE Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference: Reshaping Higher Education

Event location

University of Sussex

Event type


Event date

10 December 2007

Book title

Postgraduate and Newer Researchers Conference Papers 2007

Department affiliated with

  • Sociology and Criminology Publications

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