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Higher education progression amongst economically disadvantaged white males: overcoming the challenges

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Much attention has been directed at the low progression rates to higher education of white British men from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Although not a new access challenge - with concerns expressed more than a decade ago about levels of university participation amongst this group -little progress appears to have been made in the intervening period. Whilst the imperative to respond with outreach initiatives can be appreciated, there is, arguably, an equally important need to better understand one of the most enduring of access challenges. This study represents one attempt to do this. It does so by considering the insights and experiences of a sample of young men from a number of educationally disadvantaged areas in the English West Midlands who, unlike many of their counterparts, did enter university. Whilst they encountered challenges to their progression, the insights provided by these individuals also reveal a range of influencers and experiences, as well as underlying attitudes and outlooks that shaped their educational trajectories. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for widening participation practice.
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Keywords: HE PROGRESSION; INFLUENCES; OUTREACH; WORKING-CLASS MEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

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  • The journal is based on the belief that there are neglected links between research and theory, and policy and practice in the promotion of widening participation in post-compulsory education and lifelong learning. It aims to provide a forum for the development of theory, the addressing of policy questions and the dissemination of innovative practice in the field of widening participation and lifelong learning.
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