Harriet Bradley UWE & UoB & Richard WallerUWE Social Class, Resilience and Adapting to Student Life 1 2 3 Overview of Paired Peers study
Aim to compare experiences of students from different backgrounds at UoB and UWE Paired across universities and by subject and social class Following for 3 years from Sept 2010 Investigating factors affecting success, including economic, cultural & social capitals 4 The participant sample Pairing structure: pairs matched by class, campus, subject , e.g. 8 Law students 4 from each uni, 2 w/c and 2 m/c at each
Target 80 participants but over-recruited to cover attrition Only from subjects taught at both universities Subjects: biology, drama, econ & accountancy, engineering, english, geography, history, law, politics, psychology, sociology Recruited from 1st week induction sessions Demographic details on all students collected 5 Defining Class Awareness of complexity, change, hybridity
Multi-factoral approach Parents jobs, parents ed. level, school type, post-code, bursary, self-definition Participants classified into 3 groups: m/c, intermediate, w/c The 90 selected were those at the ends of the spectrum as most clearly w/c or m/c 6 7 Typical students graduating...
8 Theoretical Context Tendency of capital theorising to portray w/ c experience in terms of lack or alterity to dominant m/c Eg Skeggs: w/c dis-identification w/c lack of distinctive voice Bennett & Savage : omnivorous m/c, end of distinctive w/c culture Puttnam bonding rather than bridging capital 9
Policy context W/c assumed to be less able to cope with university experience than m/c Remedial approach on study skills etc Eg budgeting: It is easy for students with no family experience of university , who were not taught financial management at school to get into serious trouble . (Tessa Stone, Brightside Trust 2012) , 10
Restoring the balance M/c do bring more capitals into uni Are empowered to mobilise them more effectively HOWEVER there are positives that w/c students can bring from their own experience This presentation posits the idea of experiential capital 11 Physical capital Atkinson & Sayles: developing notion of physical
capital as w/c asset w/c kids developing hardness in the playground Many studies indicate how young w/c women work on their embodied sexuality to obtain work in the glamour industry For Atkinson and Sayles, physical capital tends to be tied to specific (w/c) social locations However, experiential capital can be transposed into another field 12 1. Motivations Experience of hardship can motivate w/c students to succeed
They are more aware of the realities of life Middle-class people are more likely to follow a route from school to university because they need more education to achieve the goal of maintaining their class position . One implication of this model is that children from working class backgrounds have to be more ambitious than middle class children in order to achieve upward social mobility through higher education (Kidd 2012) 13 Working class hopes of HE (1) Well none of my mum or dad have gone to university and through my life Ive sort of seen
the impacts of that, like financially throughout my whole life my mums never had any money, and neither has my dad really. ...my whole life has just seen them struggling through debts and I just thought well I cant be bothered to handle that, Im going to work like hard and get a job hopefully that will earn me loads of money, which is why I want to be a barrister. (m UWE w/c) 14 Necessity to Work My parents took out their own loans just to
be able to give me like set-up costs to come here, like deposits for things, like internet, all these hidden costs, hundreds and hundreds of pounds, on top of their deficit between my university accommodation and my loan, which is about a grand. My loan doesnt even cover the accommodation, so I need the income to be able to live. (Zoe, UoB) 15 Working class hopes of HE (2) I wanted to get a higher level of qualification as well as meet new people, do something,
not just go straight out into work and stay in the same northern bubble that I was in, but to remove myself and like go to a completely different environment. (f UoB w/c ) 16 Coming up the hard way Our class was like kind of the bad class in the year ..we had like a higher number of people which were like really rowdy and stuff. So yeah like throughout the school I didnt really enjoy it that much until like Year 10. from like Year 7 to 9 it was you stay in your forms and you do like maths,
english and everything together, then when you get to Year 10 and 11 they put you into sets to do with like how well youve performed.... 3 people from my form got expelled and then like 2 got moved out. We had 3 different form tutors because like in Year 7 the guy who was our form teacher was like no I cant have them for another year and then in Year 8 a new guy joined for a year and then he had us, but then he left (m UWE w/c) Everybody was..not bothered, they didnt care you know about their lives. You would see people on the streets just looking depressed . Some people would smoke weed and just get up to all sorts of bad things and.....you know, a lot of crime. But thank God for my faith that I didnt get involved in any of that (f UWE w/c) 17
Learning from experience Prospects arent that greatif you dont have a degree, in retail, because a few of my friends at Sainsburys I know are trying to work their way one of my friends, hes been there five years and hes only just become a team leader, the next step, and yeah, its not worth the effort you put in I dont think. The rewards you get back from that career structure isnt brilliant. Whereas conversely, my old store manager, he had an economics degree, he was 29 and hes been promoted again; now hes left, hes become personal assistant to the regional manager I think hes on really good money (m UoB w/c) 18
2 Location Its such a statistically a good university, you know its a Russell Group university.. its traditionally seen by employers as a reputable and a very good university and that, with the added bonus of cost, obviously its a lot cheaper not to move away, I dont have to worry about accommodation fees (m UoB w/c) 19 Class and Fit
There are institutional differences: w/c students fit in more easily at UWE No reports of the state/private divide Some m/c students feel misfits at UWE Their self-esteem seems shaken by being at an expoly Students are aware of the HEI pecking order It remains to be seen if choosing UoB pays off 20 3 Self-reliance
kind of pretending youre in the real world but youre not actually because youve still got your parents who are still going to support you. Next year will be different, I think because next year it will actually count, live in a house, it will feel more real-life-ish. But at the moment I think Im still very much in a bubble pretending Im in the real world (f UoB m/c) So its really self directed learning, its just self reliant, you know, they just treat us like adults, do everything by yourself which is good, which is really good. It makes you stronger as well, it makes you know yourself and the type of person you are (f UWE w/c) 21 Managing your money
I think you can easily manage if youre careful . .. its all about learning how to get by on a certain amount of money. Actually, I think if youre in that middle bracket, where your parents earn, like theyve got a good job but then theyve also got quite a big mortgage or whatever and theyve got a lot of kids, they cant really give their children that much money to live on. So I think people are caught in this like middle trap where theyve got less money than I have...theyre struggling a lot more than I am. Because Im finding it fine. I dont live a life of luxury but its enough. f w/c UoB 22
W/c prudence My friend would just be like, oh are you coming out tonight, and Id be like, no I dont have anything in my bank account, I cant. And hed be like what do you mean, its just going to be 20, come on. And I was like, no. I have maybe 2 in my entire account. And he, like, dont be ridiculous, just come out. And like they just dont understand... it just doesnt register that I could possibly not have any money in my account (Megan UoB) 23
m/c imprudence I just havent been budgeting properly.. Im a bit tight for money right now.. I just havent been spending my money responsibly this term, I think its because I just dont say no to things. Like someones like, do you want to go out? Yeah. Ok, dont know how much money Ive got but yeah Ill go out, see what happens. Do you want to go for a meal? Yeah. But yeah its sort of taught me a lesson for next term. Next term, Im going to be so strict on myself. (Carly UoB) My accommodation is so much that its not even covered by my
student loan, so when my loan comes in the next day its all gone plus a bit more.. so then my parents put 200 a month into my account which should be enough for me to live on, but generally its not because I just go out a bit too many times, or buy too much food when Im out. And Ive just been gradually going down into my overdraft. (Grace UoB) 24 Family back up? Its 320 a month each rent - that obviously doesnt cover utilities.. Ive got to be getting another job , because if I quit the supermarket then I dont
have any income coming in, then the student loan and grant is going to dry up pretty fast. I mean weve costed it all and budgeted it .. but then you cant plan for emergencies, but if everything stays as it is, it should be OK. ..if I go into dire straits my dad might be able to help me. I know my mum wont be able to, she wouldnt even be guarantor on my rent because she struggles to pay her rent , let alone. Im not entirely sure my dad could afford it but I put him as my guarantor because his circumstances are slightly financially better than my mums. (Gary UoB) 25 The streetwise shopper
Im really stingy with my spending and a complete bargain hunter..Ill go straight to the bargain aisle and the reduced section because I get some amazing bargains. Ive got like a special time which I go.. Yeah, Ill go to the Tesco Express at about 7 o clock when theyve reduced everything and I can get a loaf for 4p. And I got like some finest ham slices for about 6p.. I do tend to buy bulk stuff too. Yeah I go to Poundsaver and stuff, Im really good with my money.... Fruitwise I only tend to have like apples and bananas and oranges because they're cheap and so I'll get the basic ones. .. What they do is in Sainsburys , sometimes they have like too many like of the Gala ones or the Braeburns, what they'll do is they'll just stick on a basics sticker and so it will be exactly the same but you're
literally paying like a fraction of the price... You can get 10 apples for like 1 and they'll be like the really nice Gala ones. (f w/c UoB ) 26 4 Resilience W/c students are more familiar with hard knocks and thus can adjust to failures and restrict horizons M/c students feel entitled to succeed and so have further to fall; some may find it hard to readjust Two stories to conclude show this
27 Annas story: Economics/Politics, UoB Parents divorced Father electrician, mother currently waitress, formerly accounts Went to poor-performing state school 2 As, 2 A*s All the way to GCSEs I didnt really work that much, like when I was 15 or 16 I started going out and getting drunk and stuff.....I know that
sounds really silly but I didnt work that much and I still found it quite easy to do well. And then it got to A levels and then I kind of felt like oh I actually do need to work now. 28 Experiential capital? I feel quite a lot older than everybody else here. Like sometimes you see people, you meet people that have their parents like.....you know, theyve never cooked a meal for themselves...its a bit like sixth form I do feel like Im glad that I went to a state school coming here because here theres so many people from private schools. And I meet people from Eton and all of these like....like schools
that youve only heard of on television or something....I hear about what theyve done and like how much theyre given at school, and its great that theyre given that opportunity but its almost like they didnt have to work for it. The people who do succeed at state schools they have kind of an extra bit of...I think theyve worked a bit harder to get where they are 29 Making capital? Bristol the best university she applied to. Wanted to understand economics in order to get a good job to help the disadvantaged But has found Economics hard, lowered expectations from
1st to 2.1 Its the same tutor for both my Maths - he wasnt very helpful.and it was all men in my tutorial except for me, I was the only girl, and it was always really intimidating and I didnt enjoy going to those tutorials - well I still dont, I dont like going. Devastated as failed to get into Teach First Readjusting her expectations to do a PGCE: bouncing back 30 Emmas story: English, UWE Rich , privileged , friends have tennis courts and swimming pool
Went to high-performing grammar school; two As and a B (seen as sad) Parents in business management If there was a ball we could go and pay 40 for a ticket, & a lot of my friends here will say, actually I cant go to the cinema this week because Ive spent the 20 for the week that Ive got 31 Culture Shock We walked into the kitchen and the two other girls were sat in the
kitchen, theyd got there the day before. And they were rolling up cigarettes and....complete clich....which made me look really sort of ridiculous and stereotypical was, I turned to my mum as we walked out and went mum, are they doing drugs. Showed my absolute naivety of everything, Id never been exposed to anything like that. My mum went no, no, theyre rolling up cigarettes & I was like oh. I cook stuff, so Ive always known how but Ive never really had to put that into practice and do it for myself. Cooking for one is difficult - I found that out - cooking for one person is a bit of a challenge. 32
Retreat home Emma nearly dropped out in Year 2 and now commutes to her studies from her family home some 75 miles away I was in Bristol and sort of surrounded by things that were quite frightening, and you live with people youve never met people dont do washing up, people want you to take the bin out, youve got to do this, youve got to do that, youve got to clean out your shower and stuff and.theres loads of people make a noise like late at night and theyre all running around.. the more all that sort of took over me, the more I realised how much nicer it is just to go home and sleep in your nice little bed.
33 Conclusions W/C and M/C young people have different hopes for, or expectations of, HE M/C students have more capitals to help them into university and to settle in However, W/C students struggles to get there and survive once there build resilience useful in helping them succeed Such assets could be seen as experiential capital promoting streetwise capability to
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