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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
A review of this access work to date as well as consultation with stakeholders, including second-level students and third-level access students, and an analysis of national and international research on access reveals a clear gap in relation to pre-entry work. This gap relates to the more subtle factors affecting participation in higher education for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly in areas and schools with low levels of participation in higher education. Research shows that these factors include: issues associated with sense of identity and confidence:coping with transition and decision-making:gap between the culture of school and the culture of home and area:impact of parents’ own educational experience:gap between knowledge and understanding of higher education in families with no experience of higher education and the format and content of information provided by schools and higher-education institutions Research shows that these factors affect students’ experience of schooling and academic attainment, whether or not they apply higher education, and the type of higher education courses they choose. This in turn can determine whether or not students receive and accept offers. The pre-entry work that DIT currently delivers is important. However, to support students, parents and teachers in acknowledging and addressing these more subtle factors associated with making the transition from a family and area with little experience of higher education to successfully accessing higher education, a different type of pre-entry access work is required, involving facilitated developmental sessions with students, parents and teachers. The material in this resource pack will help to address some of these factors that affect the participation in higher education of students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly from areas and schools with low levels of participation in higher education. This resource pack provides a range of material for sessions that explore these issues. The key features of the sessions in this pack are:Use of local understanding and knowledge where relevant, including input from local people such as students, graduates, family and key people in the local community:Recognition and harnessing the skills, talents and resources that a person, family and community possess: Encouragement of the idea that people can acquire new learning and skills, and that change can occur: Recognition of the impact of structures and disadvantage but also of the fact that individuals can take action to enable them to access higher education: Emphasis on the unique benefits of going on to higher education
DIT Access & Civic Engagement Office (2013). Bridges to education: resource pack. Dublin, ACE, 2013.