Participation in social, leisure and informal learning

Against a background of research and national statistics that consistently show that educational participation and achievement of young people in and leaving care is significantly lower than is the case for the non-care population, previous research has shown the positive impact that social, leisure and informal learning activities can have on the educational participation and achievements of young people, and particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. The UK: Care Matters Green Paper stated that involvement in leisure and social
activities can have a positive impact on the self-esteem of youngpeople in and leaving care and upon their educational attainment andlater success in the labour market.

This paper reports on the English results of a cross-national study of young people from a public care background and their pathways to education in Europe. Using case study examples it explores the impact that social, leisure and informal learning activities can have on educational participation and educational pathways of young people in and leaving care. The paper argues that, in view of these findings, encouraging and supporting young people in and leaving care into these types of activities should be a priority for social care professionals, carers and teachers.

Katie E. Hollingworth, Research Officer, Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, London, UK

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