Wheeler, L. (2023). Widening Access for Home-Educated Applicants to Higher Education Institutions in England. International Journal of Educational and Life Transitions, 2(1): 11, pp. 1–12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/ijelt.54
Listen to Lucie Wheeler providing an overview of the article.
Transcript of the Podcast
Even though alternative forms of education have been an option for many years, there has been a notable rise in elective home education over the recent years. Furthermore, once the Covid-19 pandemic struck in 2020, there has been a significant increase in those choosing to electively home educate, with the Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA) reporting in 2019 that 60,544 children were registered as home-educated (OSA, 2020) with this rising to 81,200 as of October 2021, according to the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS, 2021). And without the formal requirement to register children as home –educated, this number could be even bigger. With this increase in home educated individuals, there comes an anticipated surge in applicants from this alternative educational background applying to higher education institutions. It is vital institutions acknowledge and prepare for widening accessibility to this applicant group.
This study used a semi structured interview with an applicant to a higher education institution, alongside an online survey with other applicants and staff from the admissions teams at the institutions, to gain an insight into the perspectives of those stakeholders involved in the admissions process. In addition to this, a documentary analysis was carried out on the websites to chosen higher education institutions in England to explore the accessibility of this route into higher education for those from an alternative background.
The difficulty of access to this group of participants is raised for discussion, alongside challenges with timeframe and minimal recruitment for data collection.
It has been identified that while there was only a small amount of data collected for this study and therefore this means we are unable to draw any firm conclusions from it, it does provide the basis of opportunity to start discussions about accessibility for this marginalised group and recommendations have been provided for future progress within this field, such as clearer recruitment information, development of a tiered system, acknowledgements of other skills aside from recognised qualifications and further research into earlier barriers for this groups.