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Conference Paper BERA-2006 Annual Conference: the 2006 British Educational Research Association Conference, 6-9 September 2006, University of Warwick

Who amongst initial phase leavers in England is least likely to return to adult learning? Evidence from the BHPS cohort 1997 leavers


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This paper takes a life course perspective and uses rich longitudinal panel data to investigate the predictors of the an early return to adult learning after completing initial phase education. We found that more than a quarter of our sample of 1997 leavers (n=463) had not returned to adult learning six years after leaving. Males were more likely than females to return. Those who left initial full time education with low or no qualifications, those who were recorded as unemployment within one year of leaving, those whose household per capita income within one year of leaving was recording as being in the lowest one third, those who were not owner occupiers within one year of leaving, those who made a role transition into marriage/cohabitation or parenthood or from employment to unemployment during the first six years from leaving were less likely to return than their respective counterparts. We also found that being female, married or cohabiting, a parent and not being in employment compounded the probability of not returning. No difference was found in rates of return for those leavers living in an urban or rural area one year after leaving nor for those whose first job occupational class was recorded as being upwardly mobile form that of their household when they were aged 14. Further work will investigate the extent to which good predictors of the first episode of adult learning are also good predictors of patterns of participation later in life.


Young People, Education, and Higher Education



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