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Publication - Dr Liz Washbrook

    The High-Potential Learners Project

    increasing the participation in Russell Group universities of high-potential learners from low-performing institutions


    Tikly, L, Rose, J, Washbrook, L, Yee, WC & Hill, J, 2016, ‘The High-Potential Learners Project: increasing the participation in Russell Group universities of high-potential learners from low-performing institutions’. University of Bristol


    The aim of the research is to provide new evidence on the key influences on the decision-making of disadvantaged learners with high potential from different types of low-performing institutions. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods, this research will investigate which home, school, and personal characteristics of KS5 students are the key influences on decision-making potentially leading to HE and RG university participation. The focus will be on evaluating the relative importance of individual factors such as: the
    nature of career aspirations; financing considerations; knowledge of opportunities and the “system”; self confidence; and perceptions of school and teacher support; and school- and teacher-level factors, such as: school ethos; setting and streaming; leadership focus on HE/RG attendance; parental engagement; and use of mentors and role models. Such school- and teacher- level factors may directly influence aspirations, or have an indirect effect on aspirations for HE/RG entrance by supporting high attainment, and we will explore this relationship further. Further factors may be added to this list of individual and school/teacher level influences as the research progresses. In the first strand a set of key influences will be identified from quantitative analysis of a large-scale nationally representative dataset of learners at Key Stages 4 and 5 who potentially started HE in 2010. A set of 48 case studies of young people across 6 institutions will then investigate further the influence of these factors on learners in the most recent cohorts as they go through the decision-making process, particularly in the context of the current economic recession and increased tuition fees, indicating that financial considerations are likely to play a considerable role. The findings will reveal which experiences and beliefs are
    the greatest deterrents on the path to a RG university in the specific context of high-potential students in low performing institutions.

    Full details in the University publications repository