"Clearing them for learning" : exploring the critical factors for success in school-based young mothers' education programs

  • Iain Cameron Hay

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The importance of (re)engaging young pregnant and parenting students with education has been well documented over the past 20 years (Arai,2009a; Boulden,2001; Daguerre & Native,2006; Kelly,2000; Luker,1996; Luttrell,2003; Musick,1993; Phoenix & Wollett,1991; Pillow,2004). This study explores the complexities, challenges and policy tensions of supporting young mothers in their (re)engagement with education and/or training. There is limited research available in Australia on the quality of school-based education programs for young mothers. While teenage/young mothering is a frequently, albeit often narrowly, studied topic, most of the research that is performed in this area is based within the psycho-medical and social welfare disciplines. This thesis sets out to inform education policy frameworks that aim to improve educational outcomes for young mothers through school-based programs. Two case studies were conducted: the Young Mothers in Education program established at Plumpton High School, a Year 7–12 public school in New South Wales (NSW) in 2004; and the CC Cares program, established at the Canberra College, a Year 11 and 12 public senior secondary school located in the Australian Capital Territory in 2009. Through its analysis of these two programs, the thesis identifies the critical factors for success in delivering education programs for young mothers. However, the research also highlights several macro and micro tensions that appear inherent in school-based young mothers’ education programs that need to be understood by policy actors and policy subjects involved in the delivery of young mothers’ education programs (Ball, Maguire, Braun & Hoskins,2011). These tensions pose ongoing threats to the success of young mothers’ education programs and need to be recognised, understood and continually negotiated by policy actors involved in the delivery of these programs in school settings.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBarbara Pamphilon (Supervisor) & Louise Watson (Supervisor)

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