14 SES 05 B, Rural Schools as Hubs for the Socio-educational Development of the Community (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 14 SES 04 B, to be continued in 14 SES 06 B
This presentation will examine how some rural communities, families and schools perceive access to higher education (HE). It will stress (1) how all influence pupils’ decision to pursue their education at university and (2) what can be learnt from these communities to ensure that their young people have equal opportunities to access HE. In particular, it will highlight how schools in these remote areas could better promote participation and engagement of families and the community through better ways of communicating between schools and universities. These efforts could mitigate some barriers that some of their pupils experience, in particular those related to the lack of familiarity of HE or education and/or due to the lack of confidence. The presentation will rest on the exploratory analysis of qualitative interviews of 26 educators and 35 pupils from eight state secondary schools located in some of the most remote Scottish areas and the exploratory quantitative analysis of a serial questionnaire filled in by 218 pupils from three state secondary schools located in these areas. Educators were selected because of their position. Pupils were aged between 16 and 17 and not all planned to go on to HE upon leaving schools. In these areas, schools are closely related to the local community. There is a long tradition that all the needs of all pupils at the school have to be considered and parents and family members engage actively in the school activities. The presentation will consider that the perception of ease of access to HE is closely related to the perception of the height of the barrier. If people perceive that access to HE is difficult, the level of barriers is high (and vice versa). The presentation will show that the location of the community has an impact on financial, geographical and educational barriers. These barriers were perceived as being higher because of the additional pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs in studying at HE. Personal barriers were usually not considered to be affected by where they lived and were therefore seen as pretty similar to those experienced by young people elsewhere. Our findings will allow us to recommend initiatives promoting access to HE led by rural schools. These initiatives rest on the strong links between the school, the families and the community and aim to improve the communication between schools and universities. Some of them could be extended to more urban settings.
- Commission on Widening Access (2015) Interim report, Scottish Government. Online at http: //www.commissiononwideningaccess.co.uk/#!publications/ca60. - Gibbons, S. & Vignoles, A. (2012) Geography, choice and participation in higher education in England, Regional Science and Urban Economics, 42, 98-113. - Kintrea, K., St Clair, R. & Houston, M. (2011) The Influence of Parents, Places and Poverty on Educational Attitudes and Aspirations. Joseph Rowntree Foundation. - Lasselle, L., Kirby, G. & Macpherson, R. (2015) Access to Higher Education for Rural Communities: An Exploratory Analysis. Online at https://hdl.handle.net/10023/7553. - Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2008) OECD Rural Policy Reviews Scotland, UK. Paris: OECD. - Riddell, S. (2014) Key Informants’ Views of Higher Education in Scotland, Working Paper 5, Centre for Research in Education Inclusion and Diversity, University of Edinburgh. - Skerratt, S., et al. (2014) 2014: Rural Scotland in Focus Report. Edinburgh: Rural Policy Centre, SRUC, Scotland’s Rural College. - Spielhofler, T., Golden, S. & Evans, K. (2011) Young People’s Aspirations in Rural Areas. Slough: NFER. - Walsh, S., Flannery, D. & Cullinan, J. (2015) Geographic accessibility to higher education on the island of Ireland, Irish Educational Studies, 34 (1), 5-23.
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