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The influence of parents, places and poverty on educational attitudes and aspirations

What are the real barriers to educational achievement?

Written by:
Ralf St Clair et al.
Date published:

What is the relationship between young people's aspirations and how they are formed? Based on longitudinal research in three locations in the UK, this study investigates aspirations and empirical evidence.

There is a high degree of interest among politicians and policymakers in aspirations, driven by two concerns: raising the education and skills of the UK population, and tackling social and economic inequality. High aspirations are often seen as one way to address these concerns, but how aspirations contribute to strong work and educational outcomes is not well understood.

The report:

  • examines the nature of aspirations;
  • explores how parental circumstances and attitudes, school, and opportunity structures come together to shape aspirations in deprived urban areas; and
  • argues that the approach to intervention should be reconsidered.

A 'roundup' of the key messages from this programme of work is also available.