Expectations of progression to university among pupils in rural communities: the role of social influences

Laurence S. Z. Lasselle, Ian Smith*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

This paper examines the social influences determining S5/Year 12 and S6/Year 13 (final year) pupils’ expectations of progression to university in a Scottish rural context in which pupils are less likely to go to university. In particular, we investigate the extent to which perceived support from parents, peers, and school, taking into account pupils’ own evaluation of their qualifications, is associated with their self-assessed likelihood of university entry. Our sample is drawn from a repeated questionnaire completed by pupils at three Scottish state secondary schools whose catchment areas are mainly rural. Our results are twofold. First, it is the perceived enthusiasm of their parents and peers, rather than their school, which is primarily correlated with pupils’ expectations of progression to university all else equal. This is true whether pupils report low or high qualification barriers to university entry. Second, perceived parental support is stronger for those whose parents had themselves attended university, especially for pupils identifying low qualification barriers. Given that school support appears to lack significance in pupils’ expectations of progression to university in this context, there is potentially scope for policymakers, universities and schools located in these rural communities to strengthen this influence.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalOxford Review of Education
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date29 Jan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Higher education
  • Rurality
  • Support
  • Pupils' expectations

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