CORDIS - EU research results

Neighborhood effects on early school leaving in Ireland


Few events in the adolescent life course determine subsequent social and economic opportunities more than dropping out of school. Given the importance of education for personal success and social inclusion, it is not surprising that there is a large amount of research examining the causes and consequences of early school leaving. In Ireland, this research has primarily focused on either the role of family or school characteristics without directly addressing the influence of the neighbourhoods in which students live.

This research will incorporate a more ecological approach to the examination of early school leaving by incorporating state-of-the-art spatial analysis and multi-level modelling to assess the role of neighbourhood effects on the odds of students dropping out of school. In addition, this research will assess the extent to which the spatial pattern of early school leaving has varied through time and if the effects of neighbourhood are also sensitive to change over time. The value of incorporating an explicitly spatial approach to examining early school leaving in Ireland is twofold. First, it provides important new insights that will help inform future policy to mitigate early school leaving. Second, Ireland's size makes it possible to undertake a national-level study that will allow urban-rural differences in neighbourhood effects to be addressed, which will add greatly to the current research on the role of place in determining social outcomes.

This research will also provide a vehicle for co -operation between the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and other research agencies in the country, including the Economic and Social Research Institute, the Higher Education Authority and the Combat Poverty Agency. In addition, it will provide an important avenue for co-operation between the Geography Department at NUIG and researchers in other fields of social science both in the university and more broadly.

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