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Youth Transitions in the 21st Century - future directions for data, methods and theory

20th September 2010 2pm, University of Southampton, 58/1009

Vernon Gayle, University of Stirling

In this presentation we investigate the relationship between parental occupations and filial education attainment. The focus of the presentation is General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) attainment. GCSEs are public examinations and mark the first major branching point in a young person's educational career. Poor GCSE attainment is a considerable obstacle which precludes young people from pursuing more advanced educational courses. Young people with low levels of GCSE attainment are usually more likely to leave education at the minimum school leaving age and their qualification level frequently disadvantages them in the labour market and low levels of qualifications are also likely to have a longer term impact on experiences in the adult labour market In this presentation we analyse a recently harmonised dataset which combines a number of cohorts from the Youth Cohort Study of England and Wales. The analyses concentrate on pupils attending comprehensive schools in the 1990s. We analyses some alternative measures of GCSE attainment and consider a number of alternative classifications of parental occupations. Within the data there is item non-response and we attempt to develop the analysis by employing multiple imputation methods. We conclude that there is a relatively strong (and persistent) association between parental occupations and filial GCSE attainment. This relationship is observed irrespective of however GCSE attainment and parental occupations are measured. Parental occupation plays a more striking role in GCSE attainment than both gender and ethnicity. These finding make a contribution to wider debates within social stratification research.