The percentage of care‐experienced young people in England progressing to university by the age of 19 currently stands at around 12–13% with a further 10% of care‐experienced adults attending university during their 20s and 30s. This figure remains lower than both the general population and other groups of disadvantaged learners. It is well established that the educational attainment of care‐experienced young people can be impacted by a range of barriers to learning. Existing research often focuses on the importance of key adults and their role in supporting young people in care. A small number of studies examine the reflexive capacities of the young people themselves through the lens of sociologist Margaret Archer's model of modes of reflexivity and internal conversations. Archer's theory can be utilised to understand how care‐experienced young people navigate their circumstances. The notion of the internal conversation offers a way to understand how some young people growing up in care develop more stable modes of reflexivity, namely autonomous, communicative or meta‐reflexive. Here we contribute to new knowledge by considering care‐experienced young people who develop communicative and autonomous aspects to their day‐to‐day life functioning. This paper draws on findings and analysis from interviews conducted as part of the first author's PhD (2020) which considered the reflexive capacities of care‐experienced young people who self‐identified as higher achievers. We utilise Archer's modes of reflexivity to explore participants’ internal conversations and to develop our understanding of the relationships, experiences and personal skills that underpin successful educational journeys.
Bibliographical noteThis is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.© 2023 The Authors. British Educational Research Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association.
FunderThis study is not funded.
- Margaret Archer
- academic attainment