The case study focuses on a small group of single mothers who represent the disadvantaged communities of East of London whose children were accessing higher educational courses through the Labour Government Sure Start programme. The case study suggested that, the social exclusion of the target group results from their low-economic backgrounds. This leads to various challenges, which includes inability to advance in their studies, lack of access to childcare services, lack of access to government financial support and being unfamiliar with the education culture. The fact that these mothers are the target point of this presentation is clear. However, it would have been better if this was incorporated into the presentation’s title to attract the audience’s attention to the content of the case study.
The group mentioned about the assessment of a Sure Start Access Program undertaken by the social researches at Birbeck College, University of London. However, there was no general background information noted about the program in the UK. Furthermore, the success stories presented at the end of the presentation raise additional questions about the scope of this program. For example, the presentation was mainly focused on the issues of young mothers from the East of London. This made the audience consider that, the Sure Start program was solely aimed at supporting these mothers through their higher educational lifelong participation.
The case study suggested that the single student mothers who are socially excluded from lifelong learning opportunities offer resistance for their social exclusion. The group attempted to support this hypothesis by mentioning Foucault's notion of power. However, since this concept has not been explored in the presentation, the group would have needed to spend more time thinking of how to use this theoretical framework to support their position.
In addition, the group presented some data about the students’ enrolment into the courses and the number of graduates who successfully completed the courses. The limitation of the data was pointed out on the fact that, it would not show the student who gave up their studies or pursued their further education. In essence, this would have been a more considerate presentation of post-academic or professional trajectory of the mentioned 29 graduates. For example, it was suggested during the presentation that, obtaining higher education can be contradictory for women. This is because; it prepares them for higher status jobs, without challenging lack of respect from family roles and behaviours. Central to this idea was the group’s reference to Sue Jackson notion on the conceptualisation of the challenge of women in higher education: “the current life-long learning policies leave the responsibility for learning with the assurance that this is not for taking action, but for individual to grasp all opportunities, regardless of their material quantities”. The possibility that this suggestion would was valid in the post-academic life of the targeted group was, unfortunately, not explored.
The case study found out that one of the main reasons that prevent young mothers from continuing with their education is the lack of childcare services. However, this is questionable as a number of presented facts were not supported and/or explained by any theoretical orientations.
Finally, there was no conclusion made to summarise the hypothesis expressed in the presentation. Also, there was no constructive recommendations provided for making the social inclusion of the target group more effective.