School control of information, advice and guidance during transition: a two year study into post-16 student decision-making

Garforth, Graham (2016) School control of information, advice and guidance during transition: a two year study into post-16 student decision-making. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The majority of research into choice, transition and decision-making took place in the 1990s-2000s. Since this time the context in which post-16 transition takes place has been changing due to increased competition between institutions and the extended length of time students are required to remain in education or training through raising the participation age. Additionally, in 2012 the government made schools responsible for Information, Advice and Guidance.

This thesis explores choice and decision-making during the transition to post-16 education and training. It provides new research evidence to contribute to the existing literature in light of the changes in context since the body of literature was formed. In particular, it explores the impact of the changes to Information, Advice and Guidance provision and the role of schools in influencing students' transition.

The study uses evidence from three schools with sixth forms, drawn from two contrasting counties of England during the first year of research. The second year of research draws evidence from a range of post-16 institutions which the students progressed onto. Overall, the data from staff, students and documentary evidence explores student transition from the final year of secondary schooling to post-16 education or training.

The study finds that competition between post-16 institutions has implications for the way that post-16 Information, Advice and Guidance is provided by schools. The practical strategies schools use to influence transition include practical prevention of access to alternative IAG, control of the application process and active student selection. The most powerful strategies involve the social construction of unique selling points and the management of culture and trust. The implications of these strategies for students' transition is assessed taking into account how students make their post-16 transition decisions in a loosely coupled manner and the common belief that their position is of their own making. Overall, a continuum of schools' influence on transition is presented.

The study concludes that the competitive post-16 environment coupled with school control of guidance may lead to imperfect transition for students and reproduction of the structural status quo rather than social change. For school leaders implications exist in being able to mitigate competition through collaboration and specialisation. However, the complexity of achieving this in the competitive post-16 marketplace produces implications for guidance providers in equipping students with decision-making skills and empowering them with an understanding of their position which is more likely to lead to students being able to challenge influencing structures and make effective post-16 transitions.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: McGrath, Simon
Giovanelli, Marcello
Keywords: Post-16 transition, Post-16 progression, School transition, Role of the school, Careers Information Advice and Educational Guidance, Student decision-making, Post-16 competition, England
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary education. High schools
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC1001 Types of education, including humanistic, vocational, professional
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 35625
Depositing User: Garforth, Graham
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2017 21:13

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