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Because it’s worth it? Education beliefs among young people and their parents in the United Kingdom

Jones, Gill, O'Sullivan, Ann and Rouse, Julia C. (2004) Because it’s worth it? Education beliefs among young people and their parents in the United Kingdom. Youth and society, 36 (2). pp. 203-226. ISSN 0044-118X

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Abstract

The expansion of post–16 education in the United Kingdom makes young people more dependent, and for longer, on their parents. Generational change has been so great that parents with no history of postschool education are now expected to support children while they study. Some parents adhere to a working-class belief in selfsufficiency through employment. Others are taking an increasingly instrumental approach, believing that investment in education must pay dividends in job prospects. This article examines young people’s pathways between education and work and explores the motivations and pressures underlying choices about which path to take. It identifies uncertain transitions where choices are revised and pathways changed. The research finds that parents have increased power to affect their children’s transitions and that young people without parental support are severely disadvantaged. This study of parental support for transitions in youth involved interviews with young people and their parents in two contrasting English towns.

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