Early Identification of Young People at Risk of Poor Educational and Labour Market Outcomes: The Role of Educational Insitutions

Project: Research council

Project Details


This study attempts to answer the following questions: 1. How do things like truancy, coming from a less affluent background, family breakdown and a range of other factors that pupils experience at school; lead to poor educational and labour market (employment and earnings) outcomes? 2. Do we see different impacts (for instance on the likelihood of securing good wages) when similar students attend different post-16 educational institutions, such as Further Education, Sixth Form College or School Sixth Form? Does it make any difference to a young person's prospects if they achieve the same level of qualification in these different institutions; and do we see children from rich and poor backgrounds making very different decisions from age 16 and above? 3. How accurately are we able to predict the employment and earnings outcomes for different students, using all the information on their background, learning and achievement in schools and colleges? At its heart the project seeks to analyse and assess the educational and labour market pathways followed by the half of young people who do not pursue university level education, and therefore contributes to the government's social mobility agenda; emphasised by David Cameron as a key priority for government in his Oct 2015 conference speech. The research proposed here will be of key interest to government and the Social Mobility Commission charged by the government to address Britain's poor record on social mobility. When we talk of social mobility, we are interested in the extent to which children born to poorer families can make the journey to high paid jobs and professional careers. More generally, a lack of social mobility is a situation where being born to poverty, riches or somewhere in between, means that you are likely to find yourself in the same position as your parents, no matter how hard you try and whatever your talents. Unfortunately, the evidence over recent decades has been that there is less social mobility in the UK than in other similar countries. The administrative data we will use to carry out this study is routinely collected by the parts of government that collect taxes (HMRC), deal with unemployment support (DWP), are responsible for Further Education (BIS) and learning in schools (DfE). This is a very important and useful resource, as it has the potential to overcome some of the limitations we face when using surveys (not least that we observe all people in the relevant populations, not just a relatively small sample). However, it is a complicated process to link these datasets and a large part of this project will be taken up with this process of linking. As well as finding out what impact truancy has on a young person's performance at school, up to the age of 15 when they get their GCSE results (and results from other equivalent qualifications); we will try to find out if this truancy continues to have an impact even when they leave school. Consider another example: we will shed new light on the extent to which disadvantaged young people, with a good set of educational choices facing them at age 15, are seen to make 'bad' choices; when compared to their more advantaged peers, facing the same choice sets. Similarly, the study will shed light on the choices made by young people from age 16+ who are from more advantaged backgrounds, who we see facing a more limited set of educational choices at 15; and how these differ to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds facing the same limited choices.
Effective start/end date10/10/1631/10/18


  • Economic and Social Research Council


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