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Title: 'Who are you to know who I am?' : a comprehensive study of youth at risk
Author: Schmitsek, Szilvia
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 5794
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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My research explored the educational experiences of young people who had been at risk of dropping out and/or who had dropped out of secondary education, and subsequently went on to obtain a qualification at a second chance provision. Second chance provisions are designed to support the acquisition of self-efficacy and career adaptability, which led them to pursue their career in higher education and/or in the labour market. Social constructionism acts as an overarching theory because it postulates that knowledge is both situated and relative, which helps explore the situation of young people in different policy contexts. This thesis presents a comparative research study of comprehensive measures related to Early School Leaving (ESL) in Denmark, England and Hungary. The comprehensive strategies and policy contexts developed and implemented to combat ESL in these three European countries were found to be substantially distinctive when their differences and similarities were examined. The organisations offering second chance provision that were chosen for this research are all members of the Association of European Cities and Second Chance Schools (E2C), which implies that the teaching methodology is different from the mechanisms in use in mainstream education. The doctoral research is based on comparative fieldwork in three urban areas, allocated pseudonyms as follows: Øresund City (Denmark), Paprika City (Hungary) and Grey Town (England). The fieldwork was carried out over the course of 14 months. Empirical data were collected from observations conducted in second chance provisions; a total of 28 interviews with former students; and a total of 21 interviews with a range of stakeholders including policy makers, teachers, and career counsellors. By listening to the voices of former students, the analysis focusses on the relevance and importance of different sources of support with special regard to positive relationships, such as those between the teacher/career counsellor/social worker and the student, as well as peer support as motivators to sustain or re-establish engagement in education. Data analysis chapters concentrate on how young people described their career at school, their negative experiences in mainstream settings and their learning pathways in second chance provisions. Special attention was paid to their interpretations about the influences, which they considered beneficial to their careers in education and later in their adult life. Interviews with these stakeholders and grass roots professionals were used to gain insight into the policy context of the three countries. The thesis concludes with policy recommendations based on the findings of the study. My original contribution to knowledge is a qualitative cross-national comparative study, which focussed on students’ lives and career trajectories with a comparative lens in depth. Therefore, the qualitative research described herein had the potential to be more sensitive to the micro-processes of students’ experiences in education and in the labour market, and moreover, their impacts on young people’s well-being and future perspectives to give a more distinct image of dropouts in three different policy contexts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor