Moving on up? Exploring narratives of educational progression
This chapter provides an introduction to our 16 network entry points through considering their immediate post-compulsory pathways. As will become apparent in this and subsequent chapters, many of our research participants had often been ambivalent about their schooling, and had left with little sense of motivation or any strong desire to continue with their studies. Yet by the time we met them they had all acquired additional qualifications which would be categorized as Level 3 qualifications within the current National Qualifications Framework, hence were potentially recruitable to higher education (HE). So how did they each get to this point? What were their reasons for acquiring these additional qualifications? And had potential progression to HE been part of their reasoning? Such questions form the focus of this chapter, which starts by considering the decisions made about employment, education and training at the point at which our core sample members first completed their compulsory schooling. Individual conceptualizations of progression are explored in relation to these accounts, and we consider whether they bear much correspondence to those which underpin contemporary policies on education and training. In contrast to subsequent chapters, which focus on specific case study networks, this chapter summarizes the experiences of all 16 of our core sample members.