Risk and trust: the impact of information and experience on the decision to participate in post-16 education

Dyke, Martin, Foskett, Nick and Maringe, Felix (2008) Risk and trust: the impact of information and experience on the decision to participate in post-16 education Education, Knowledge and Economy, 2, (2) (doi:10.1080/17496890802221365).


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The research reported here was funded by the UK Department for Education and Skills to
consider the influence of the school on the decision by young people to participate in learning
on completion of compulsory schooling. A national sample of 24 schools across England
participated in this study. Research methods included focus group interviews with students
aged 14 and 15 years; interviews with head teachers, heads of year and career advisors in each
of the 24 schools; and parental questionnaires for each student interviewed. This article considers
the findings of the project in terms of the impact of educational interventions on young
peoples’ decision-making processes and finds that young people require experience of, rather
than ‘cold’ information about, their post-school options. Young people seek to manage risks,
by gaining first-hand experience or relying on trusted relationships and social networks. This
study found that official informational sources are not trusted; they are treated as high risk,
whereas experiential events are trusted and have high impact on decision making. Family,
friends and social networks are trusted sources of information and influence decision making.
This creates a paradox whereby a young person’s trusted sources of information, guidance
and support may also be treated as high risk. A challenge for the education and advisory process
therefore is to produce high-trust relationships and minimize the risks associated with
post-compulsory education. This article uses the conceptual work related to reflexivity to
explore the issues of risk and trust in a rapidly changing world and connects these aspects of
social theory directly to the experience of young people making decisions about their transitions
and life course.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1080/17496890802221365
ISSNs: 1749-6896 (print)
Keywords: widening participation, 14-19, choice, risk and trust, reflexivity
ePrint ID: 149475
Date :
Date Event
June 2008Published
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2010 10:41
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 14:31
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/149475

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