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Re-engaging with education

Hamilton, Jane; Attwood, Gaynor; Croll, Paul


Jane Hamilton

Paul Croll


The paper reports a study of alternative pre- 16 provision in a college of further education for young people who were disaffected and/or non-attenders at secondary school. The data are derived from interviews with 26 of these young people who were ‘success stories’ for the programme in that they had continued attendance up to the end ofYear 11 and, in a few cases, beyond. The interviews showed that, for the most part, school placements had broken down for these young people because of difficulties in personal relationships, in particular relationships with teachers. However, for a minority a perceived irrelevance of the school curriculum was also a factor. The young people were almost all positive about their experience at college and the vocational courses they were taking. A good atmosphere, good personal relationships and being treated as adults were the key features of their positive experience at college although their positive feelings about the particular course was related to its vocational relevance. Most of the young people said that education and training was important to them and that they planned further study. The paper tentatively concludes that it is poor personal relationships that are mainly responsible for the premature exit from school and that good personal relationships have enabled them to remain in education. However, their continued involvement in college and intentions for further study are strongly influenced by vocational factors. The positive tone on the results reflects the perceptions of the young people at the point of interview and the paper does not deal with the disadvantaged situation many of them may be in. Further research will focus on longer term outcomes for employment and training. © 2003, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


Hamilton, J., Attwood, G., & Croll, P. (2003). Re-engaging with education. Research Papers in Education, 18(1), 75-95.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2003
Journal Research Papers in Education
Print ISSN 0267-1522
Electronic ISSN 1470-1146
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 1
Pages 75-95
Keywords 14–19 curriculum, exclusion, disaffection, re-engaging education, further education
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This article discusses the findings of a research project funded by the Lifelong Learning Foundation. The study is original for its distinction between 'push' factors which lead to young people disengaging from education, and 'pull' factors which facilitiate re-engagement. These results have considerable significance for 14-19 provision and development and have been widely referenced. This paper was the lead report in the Education Guardian on 28 October 2003 and attracted high levels of interest from practioners and researchers alike. Attwood was responsible for 60%.