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Working class children are still less likely to reach third-level education

A new ESRI study says that class is still important.

Image: Application via Shutterstock

SOCIAL MIX AND standing still plays a large part in whether or not students attend third-level education.

That is the finding of an ESRI study released today that gives insight into he experiences of young people transitioning into further/higher education and the labour market.

Leaving School in Ireland: A Longitudinal Study of Post-School Transitions follows the pathways taken by over 750 students as they make the leap from second-level school into the next phase of their lives.

The report finds that schools make a notable difference on how students choose their path to third-level.

“Young people who had more positive interactions with their teachers were more likely to stay on in education after leaving school.”

It also found that class played a part.

“The social mix of the school had a particularly strong influence. Young people who attended socially-mixed schools and middle-class schools, were more likely than those from working-class schools to go on to some form of post-school education and training, all else being equal.”

However, the difference in learning from Leaving Cert to third-level makes things difficult for those transitioning between the two. 80% highlighted particular difficulties in relation to the standard expected of them, the difficulty of the course and managing their workload.

The study calls for a number of policy implements.

It says that junior cycle reform must be broader in order to engage young people in learning and says that the senior cycle should equip young people for lifelong learning.

Report author Selina McCoy said “the research shows that schools make a significant difference to young people’s longer term outcomes. Aspirations to further and higher education emerge as early as junior cycle, indicating the importance of providing a supportive school climate which encourages high aspirations among all students”.

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