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Recovering potential: Factors associated with success in engaging challenging students with alternative pre-16 provision

Attwood, Gaynor; Croll, Paul; Hamilton, Jane


Paul Croll

Jane Hamilton


The study focuses on a group of young people for whom conventional school placements had broken down and were attending vocational courses at an FE college while still of compulsory school age. The students had been excluded by, or had failed to attend, their schools or had achieved at very low levels in the academic curriculum. Over half successfully completed the vocational course at college. Many factors conventionally regarded as predictors for poor educational outcomes were not associated with completion and non-completion. For example, students who had been excluded, who had statements of special educational needs and had been involved with the criminal justice system were as likely to complete their courses as other students. However, students who had very poor attendance records at school also tended to drop out of college. The results suggest that the increased flexibility, guidance and elements of work-related learning promised in current 14-19 developments may help meet the needs of this group of students. © 2005 NFER.


Attwood, G., Croll, P., & Hamilton, J. (2005). Recovering potential: Factors associated with success in engaging challenging students with alternative pre-16 provision. Educational Research, 47(2), 149-162.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jun 1, 2005
Journal Educational Research
Print ISSN 0013-1881
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Issue 2
Pages 149-162
Keywords monetary transmission mechanism, asymmetries, MCI
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article presents a study of a group of young people who left school to attend alternative provision in a further education college. Using both qualitative and quantitative data the paper presents the views of students and tutors as to the factors which enable students to re-engage with education. The findings are set in the current 14-19 policy context and emphasise the tensions between the inclusion agenda and the accountability agenda in further education. The paper raises issues for policy development at both local and national levels. Attwood was responsible for 60%.