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Title: Post-16 choice and the impact of careers education and guidance.
Author: Morgan, Barry.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3420 3832
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1999
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The motivation for this thesis is located in the greater emphasis being placed on careers education and guidance (CEG), in response to a notion of increased choice within the post-16 education and training market. Within the concept of a Learning Society there would seem to be an expectation of increased participation in post-16 education and training. There would also seem to be a greater emphasis on young people taking more responsibility for their own learning; implying that the decision-making processes of young people should be of central concern. Policy-makers, though, have seemed to assume that decision-making is a technically rational process; that if young people could become well-informed about their options, and equipped with decision-making skills, then they would evaluate all their options in a rational and explanatory manner when making choices. But this thesis considers that choice is a more complex and problematic concept, and that exposure to CEG does not necessarily equate with notions of engagement and impact. This thesis explores rationales for post-16 choice with a view to understanding further both the decision-making processes of young people and the impact that school-based CEG may have. It focuses on how macro policy is translated into practice at meso and micro levels. Employing methodological pluralism (questionnaire and interview) within a single-case study context, the research examines the intentions and choices of a year cohort, tracked through years 9-11, at Southdown Comprehensive School. Southdown is a large, mixed, 11-18 age range school set in a rural location in south-east England. The research at Southdown identifies three primary areas for investigation: the ir/rationality which the cohort apply to their decision-making; the relative influences of home and school environments; the cohort's engagement with school-based CEG. The findings of the research suggested that many of the cohort did not make post-16 choices in a technically rational and explanatory manner; nor did they necessarily engage with the CEG to which they were exposed, to the extent that Government rhetoric would seem to have suggested. The research found that choices were made from a range of perspectives. The ir/rationality of the cohort's post-16 choices was located within pragmatism, impressionism and opportunism and was, at times, haphazard. Choice also seemed to be often informed by a perceived hierarchy within strongly tracked pathways. Constraints on choice also inferred that the education and training market from which many of the cohort had tended to choose was smaller than market rhetoric might suggest. The research suggests that school CEG has to relate more to students as individuals and relocate itself more to the social and cultural context of the individual, if it is to impact more on the decision-making of young people. The thesis concludes by emphasising the importance of recognising the student, and not the organisation, as the centre of the decision-making process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Education & training