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Student-parents and higher education: a cross-national comparison

Brooks, R (2012) Student-parents and higher education: a cross-national comparison Journal of Education Policy, 27 (3). pp. 423-439.

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During its time in office, the UK’s Labour government gave a strong message that having caring responsibilities for a young child should not be seen as a barrier to engaging in education and training. Its widening participation strategy included a specific commitment to increasing the number of mature students in higher education (HE) – students who are more likely than their younger peers to have caring responsibilities for dependent children. Furthermore, considerable resources were devoted to encouraging teenage mothers to return to education and training soon after the birth of their child. Nevertheless, despite this policy focus, there have been relatively few studies of the experiences of ‘student-parents’ within HE. This paper draws on findings from a cross-national study (funded by the Nuffield Foundation) to explore the support currently offered by UK universities to students who have parental responsibilities for one or more children under the age of 16. It compares this support to that offered by Danish institutions, to assess whether differences in ‘welfare regime’, the structure of the HE system and pervasive assumptions about gender relations have any discernible impact on the way in which student-parents are both constructed within institutional cultures and assisted by institutional practices.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Brooks, R
Date : 3 May 2012
DOI : 10.1080/02680939.2011.613598
Related URLs :
Additional Information : This is an electronic version of an article published as Brooks R (2012). Student-parents and higher education: a cross-national comparison. Journal of Education Policy 27(3):423-439 Available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 22 Feb 2013 09:53
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:00

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