Recognising Students who Care for Children while Studying

Samuel Dent
Nottingham Trent University, UK

Product Details
16 Nov 2020
Emerald Publishing Limited
216 pages - 152 x 229mm
Featuring a Prologue by Professor Penny Jane Burke, and Epilogue by Dr Ciaran Burke

The often-changing definitions of widening participation groups in UK higher education has the potential to lead to inequitable experiences for students who do not fit into traditional typologies. This book considers the experiences of students who care for children while studying (CCS), a group often discussed only broadly in existing research, to shine a light on the unique barriers and experiences they face. 

Problematising ‘who’ is recognised in widening participation and equalities policy, Samuel Dent presents an Institutional Ethnographic study, involving 16 CCS students at a research-intensive UK University and collected over two academic years, to gain further insight into their institutional experiences. Unearthing the complex reality that CCS students’ experiences vary in proportion to a diverse range of individual circumstances, Dent identifies a consistent theme in which these students experience a pattern of institutionally ‘othering’, ‘individualisation’, and ‘passing’ behaviours. Dent ultimately concludes by tackling the important question of how these patterns of experiential imbalance might be challenged.
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Exploring the HE policy context
Chapter 3. The experience of students who care for children: a literature review
Chapter 4. Researching students who care for children while studying: a methodology
Chapter 5. The work of being a student who cares for children
Chapter 6. CCS students' institutional experiences: activated texts
Chapter 7. Understanding CSS students within the wider institution
Chapter 8. Conclusion; findings, recognition and remedies
Dr Samuel Dent PFHEA is Interim Academic Development Manager at Nottingham Trent University, UK. Samuel has an esteemed reputation for weaving together research and practice on HE inequalities and has received numerous awards and shaped practice in HE within the UK and Ireland, including being cited in the Office for Students regulatory framework.
This is a fascinating book that sets out to explore the puzzle of why students caring for children continue to face difficulties within higher education, despite the increasing commitment of institutions to equality and diversity. Drawing on ethnographic data, it presents a nuanced and theoretically-informed account of the experiences of students with caring responsibilities, and an important critique of widening participation and equality policies. It will be of interest to all those working in the higher education sector who are committed to furthering social justice. - Professor Rachel Brooks, Professor of Sociology, University of Surrey

Students who care for children exist in a dichotomy, being both ubiquitous within the HE landscape but equally, often side-lined in educational policy and discourse. Samuel Dent’s timely publication refocuses attention on this growing population and invites the reader to explore the highly complex and emotional ‘work’ necessitated by being both student and carer. Drawing on rich narratives from both undergraduate and postgraduate learners, this book foregrounds the ‘lived experience’ of caring for children whilst studying and is essential reading for those passionate about the student experience including researchers, equity practitioners, student support staff and university teachers - Professor Sarah O’Shea, Director, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Curtin University, Australia

Samuel Dent's monograph is a rare and precious contribution to the study of a much under-researched group: student parents. The book provides a much-needed analysis of how students with parenting responsibilities navigate the 'care-free' academic cultures which have excluded them for too long. The book is likely to appeal to researchers and practitioners concerned with widening participation and equity. - Marie-Pierre Moreau, Professor of Education, Anglia Ruskin University, UK

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