Author: William Baker, Oxford University

Day One – Tuesday 25th June

Strand – Education

Session One: 11.30am – 1pm

Educational and occupational aspirations have become important reference points in policy debates about educational inequality. Low aspirations are presented as a major barrier to closing educational attainment gaps and increasing levels of social mobility.

This paper contributes to this debate by presenting data on the educational aspirations of students from the Effective Provision of Pre-School Primary and Secondary Education project in England. I analyze factors that help predict students holding `high’ aspirations.

The findings reveal generally high aspirations across all students but also differences in aspirations by income group and other background factors. The significance of these findings for the existing research literature and public policy debates in the U.K about the importance of raising educational aspirations are evaluated. The paper questions the grounds for treating ‘poverty of aspirations’ as a social problem that should be tackled through interventions designed to raise them.

Presentation not available.