Generations and lifecourse

Summative report: Demographic change, generations and the life course

Professor Sarah Harper

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TOP KEYWORDS: demography, generations, longevity

The millennial generation: generation y and the opportunities for a globalised, networked educational system

Elisabeth Kelan, Michael Lehnert

ABSTRACT: The paper explores the changing educational needs and expectations of Generation Y, people born roughly between 1977 and 2000. The first part of the paper reviews existing research on...
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Generation Y and examines some of the challenges Generation Y faces in education and the workplace. The second part then takes a look at how educational challenges for Generation Y can be met by exploring good practices. The paper highlights that technical, economic and social changes lead to different demands on the education system which have to be met in order to create a competitive and sustainable educational system for the 21st century.
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TOP KEYWORDS: work, education, generations, economics, society, technology, social change, personal development

Social class and education: changes and challenges

Ceri Brown and Hugh Lauder

ABSTRACT: This report will present scenarios relating to social class and education over the next 40 years. In order to do so, the first half of the report will establish...
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the knowledge we have about social class and education in Britain and will report on the most recent research on the topic. The second section seeks to extrapolate scenarios from current trends.

The report begins by outlining a model of the social class, education and labour market relationship. It will be used as a framework for reporting on the best theories and empirical evidence we have currently, and to extrapolate from this to the scenarios. The model comprises two related parts: the first concerns the changing nature of the classed family and its relationship to education. The second concerns the relationship between educational achievement and the labour market. One of the fallacies associated with the relationship between educational achievement and social mobility is that there is a clear relationship between them, in that if students achieve in education they can expect to be upwardly mobile. Goldthorpe and Jackson (2007) have noted that several leading politicians have made this error. There are two reasons why the relationship is not straightforward. Firstly, the positional competition theory for credentials, means that it may be extremely difficult for disadvantaged students to compensate for the advantage that professional middle class students retain through a range of strategies documented by Ball (2003). In other words, however well disadvantaged students improve in terms of educational achievement, it does not follow that this will lead to similar improvements in upward social mobility. Secondly, upward mobility depends not only on the performance of individuals but also occupational structure. If there is an expanding number of middle class jobs, as there was after the Second World War, then it is possible for working class students to be upwardly mobile. If, however, there is no change in the number of middle class positions in the occupational structure or indeed they are declining, then it follows that middle class students would have to be demoted for working class students to be promoted. This is not a particularly appealing prospect for politicians.

In the post war period politicians could see education as the route to upward social mobility because the occupational structure created the demand for able working class students. However, if these conditions no longer remain it is likely that the positional competition for credentials will intensify.
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TOP KEYWORDS: competition, occupations, education, class

Family structures and intergenerational transfers of learning: changes and challenges

John Jessel

ABSTRACT: In spite of the range of formal education that is available, much of our learning occurs informally in a variety of contexts. Among these contexts is the family. For...
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young children this is especially important in terms of what it offers at a time when influences can be long-lasting and of a formative nature. Older generations can also be influenced by, and learn from, younger members of the family. Traditionally, the family has provided a setting where children, their parents and other close relatives such as their grandparents have lived together under the same roof, or household. In the home setting people can spend time together and the range of activities occurring within this setting are influenced by, and in turn influence, a wider cultural milieu. The family and the household are, however, entities that are subject to change and in turn these changes can have profound influences for those who are part of it. In this article I will outline what is understood by home and family and how the home and family are changing within the UK as a result of a variety of demographic changes that are associated with factors such as an ageing population and migration. I will then consider the contributions by those who have studied learning going on in the home, also taking account of the possible influences of present day developments in science and technology. I will then consider more speculatively some possible developments over the next few decades and the challenges that arise from these.
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TOP KEYWORDS: ageing, population, demography, education, family, migration, generations

Later life and education: changes and challenges

George Leeson

ABSTRACT: According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the population of the UK aged 65 years and over increased from 7.4 million and 13% in 1971 to 9.7 million...
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and 16% in 2006. By 2051, the projections of the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) reveal that the number will have increased to 18.7 million and 24%. By that time, around half the population of the UK will be over 50. This is historically unprecedented. Indeed, it means that the 20th century was the last century of youth, and the 21st century heralds a new demography – that of maturity.

These dynamics are the result as much of falling fertility as of increasing longevity as women are choosing either not to have children (childlessness in the UK has increased from around 1 in 10 of women born in the mid 1940s to around 1 in 5 of women born in the late 1950s (Office of National Statistics, 2005)), to delay first childbirth (the average age of women at first birth inside marriage in England and Wales has increased from 24 years in the early 1970s to around 30 years (Office of National Statistics, 2005a)) and/or limit the number of children (although the total fertility rate in England and Wales has been increasing in recent years, it still remains below replacement level at 1.86 (Office of National Statistics, 2007)). This is coupled with increasing longevity that has seen life expectancies at birth increase from 70.9 years for males and 76.9 years for females in 1981 to 77.2 and 81.5 respectively in 2006. Similarly, at age 65 years, life expectancies have increased – from 13 years for males and 16.9 years for females in 1981 to 17.2 and 20 years respectively in 2006. GAD’s projections indicate continued increases to 85.5 years for males and 88.7 years for females by 2056, with life expectancies at age 65 increasing to 23.9 and 26 years respectively by 2056.

This translates into a significant increase in the number of people aged 100 years and over. In 2006, there were 10,000 people in the UK aged 100 years and over. By 2056, this number is expected to increase to an astonishing 286,000 and to around 1 million by the end of the 21st century.

The prospect of a long and healthy life is thus real for most of us and therein lies the challenge and the opportunity for every individual and for every government. How does this affect our preparedness for later life? Have we as individuals thought about this? Have we given much thought to how long we are likely to live? Have we given much thought to a life with 20 to 40 years of retirement?

Clearly, population ageing in the UK – and elsewhere – will have far reaching consequences on society. For example:

• More generations will survive together than ever before
• Intergenerational solidarity will take on a different meaning as we will move increasingly into second, third and even fourth partnerships with extended families of a complicated and demanding nature
• Individual life courses will change, both professionally and personally, as we recognise and come to terms with our personal longevity
• The labour market and the workforce will have to adapt to older workers, seeking to recruit, retrain and retain older workers – we may find ourselves delaying rather than forcing our retirement
• Consumption patterns will change and technology, retail and services will need to adapt to older people’s needs and capacities
• People’s disposable income will need to address changing needs as we age dramatically
• Retirement will become a time of contribution and responsibility, a time of empowerment and citizenship.

The ageing of societies and of individuals has been a topic of intense interest, debate and research for the last 50 years as population demographics changed dramatically, the roles of women in the family and the workplace entered a completely new era, and we as individuals could look forward to an increasing number of years in (comfortable) retirement thanks to early retirement schemes, occupational pensions and increasing longevity (Leeson, 2006; Harper, 2004, 2006; Howse, 2004, 2005).

National, regional and global research enables us to look at the increasingly contributory and responsible role of people in later life in the global world of ageing.

People in later life present an encouraging and challenging profile. People generally feel good, even as they age into what 20 years ago would have been regarded as dependent old age. The boundaries of dependent old age are being pushed ever forward. Modest fears about life after retirement are generally not borne out in retirement and key factors are independence and control, which contribute to a positive quality of life post-retirement. Our families are becoming smaller as we have fewer children, and they are also becoming more fragmented as partnerships are dissolved and new ones formed. And yet, families are the buttress of our society, the phenomenon we identify with and within which we exhibit significant feelings of intergenerational solidarity. Contrary to the popular myth of people in later life, these cohorts are not simply passive recipients of increasing amounts of support from their family, from their community and from their society. These cohorts provide significant amounts of support within the family to both older and younger generations, they are engaged in voluntary work in the wider community, and substantial proportions continue to work after the traditional retirement age. Clearly, without the input from these cohorts, many of the institutions we take for granted would fall apart.

It is this spirit of contribution and responsibility that profiles people in later life. Their demands on society do not equate to need, but rather to contribution – and learning is key to enabling them to do this.

As governments slowly began to wake up to this new dawning of a greying population (Denmark was the first country in the world in the late 1970s to establish a Government Commission on Ageing to develop joined-up policies to address ageing issues (Aeldrekommissionen, 1980, 1981, 1982)), research attempted to provide reliable information not just about how long and healthy our lives would be, but how we spend that extra healthy life in retirement (ELSA; DLFS; SHARE; GLAS; AXA).

Today, we have a wealth of information. But what does it tell us about later life and the generations that will live it? How do we want to live? Do we want to work? What do we expect of our families? Is financial hardship just around the corner? In this briefing paper, we shall look into these issues drawing on some of the research undertaken in the UK and elsewhere in the last 20 years or so, and we shall endeavour to put this into an educational and citizenship context.

But first a brief overview of strategy and policy in lifelong learning and late life learning.
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TOP KEYWORDS: population, demography, education, ageing, longevity

Childhood and education: changes and challenges

Dr Nick Lee

ABSTRACT: The first section of this paper will describe the child-centred social investment thesis developed by Esping Andersen (2002). This thesis has been a strong influence on UK government educational...
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and child-related policy over the last decade. Some of the resulting current UK policies will be examined, and their success or failure so far will be explored. It is crucial to note that these policies involve the increasing integration of health, welfare and educational resources in the common purpose of increasing children’s social and cognitive capital. This survey will reveal the key trends and drivers that policy makers are currently responding to as they shape children’s lives. Given that steps taken today may well have effects lasting decades, the guiding social, technical and economic assumptions currently made about the future need to be identified and critically examined. Section Two will set these assumptions in the context of major global trends and signals including issues of demographic change in less and least developed world regions, climate change, energy and food security and financial conditions. The key question here will be whether the bases of current policies address the range of possible futures of yesterday or the range of possible futures of today. Section Three will draw on this material to compose a set of issues that are likely to become important to educational decision-making in the next decade.
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TOP KEYWORDS: demography, education, health, welfare, society

Review of longevity trends to 2025 and beyond

Kenneth Howse

ABSTRACT: Mortality rates in the UK are declining at all ages and for both sexes, just as they are in the rest of the developed world. With every year that...
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passes, there is an increase in the proportion of successive birth cohorts that reaches retirement age, and an increase in the likelihood of surviving to enjoy that retirement for several years. Declining mortality at older ages is one of the main drivers of the growth in the relative size of the older population. By 2025 one in five people in the UK population will be aged 65 years or more. By 2050 it will be almost one in four.
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TOP KEYWORDS: longevity, ageing, mortality, innovation, health, lifestyle, retirement

Families, care and work: changes and challenges

Andreas Hoff

ABSTRACT: British society is ageing, with people aged 80 years and over being the most rapidly growing age group. Between 1981 and 2007 their numbers nearly doubled (1.57 million to...
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2.75 million), representing 4.5% of the total population (ONS, 2008a). It is members of this age group who are most likely to need care and assistance. Population ageing challenges the existing modes of care provision – by the family, by the welfare state, by commercial providers, and by the voluntary sector. At a time of growing need for caregivers, fertility is declining/stagnating, resulting in a smaller pool of potential family caregivers, as well as the emergence of a smaller and ageing workforce over the years to come. Equally important in contributing to this development is the fact that most women now pursue their own careers, while men continue to pursue theirs. The commercial and the public care industry are also affected by the shortage in caregivers and are increasingly reliant on migrant care workers imported from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia. The voluntary sector may find it difficult to recruit enough volunteers to provide support to a growing number of older people. In short, all societal sectors providing care and assistance to older people find themselves overstretched at times of greater need for resources due to the sheer numbers of care recipients anticipated over the coming decades. It will be our generations’ responsibility to make sure that they don’t get overwhelmed by future demand. We will have to find new solutions for providing care to maintain the fabric of our societies, a communal sense of intergenerational solidarity.
This review paper aims to make a contribution to outlining the specific challenges in regard to the provision of care in the family and how this can be reconciled with the reality of full employment in the 21st century. Thereby, the focus will be on care for older adults. Where relevant, reference will be made to childcare. Faced with the prospect of a shrinking workforce, the British economy cannot afford to lose too many employees due to unemployment, early retirement or family care commitments if the UK is to maintain economic growth and to preserve existing levels of individual wealth. This paper argues that education, science and technology play a central role in mastering this challenge. In the first – and largest – part, the paper provides a thorough review of existing research in the three interrelated areas of family, care and work, culminating in a state-of-the-art review of research on the reconciliation of employment and family care and family-friendly policies. This is followed by a discussion of the potential contribution recent advances in science and technology can make to a successful reconciliation of employment and care responsibilities. The paper concludes by suggesting future directions for educational development to achieve a well-adjusted work-life-balance in an ageing society.
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TOP KEYWORDS: ageing, employment, workforce, migration, care, welfare

Ethnicity and Social Organisation: Changes and Challenges

Neli Demireva

ABSTRACT: With the overall British population rapidly ageing, there is a growing realization of the important role that both first and second generation ethnic minorities can play in demographic change....
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A great deal, however, depends upon the integration of the minority members and the reaching of parity between ethnic groups. The present paper offers some insight on the ongoing changes within Britain’s ethnic groups and the challenges that might be faced by them in a future of rapid demographic transitions.
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TOP KEYWORDS: ethnicity, society, community, demography, population, migration, ageing, employment, family

Evolving family structures, roles and relationships in light of ethnic and social change

Robin Mann

ABSTRACT: This report is divided into two sections. In the first half, I provide an overview of the nature of change in family structures and relationships over the last few...
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decades and up to the current 2000-2025 period, highlighting the major issues and challenges concerning black and minority ethnic families in the UK. In the second half, I indicate the role of science and technology in shaping the potential futures of majority and minority ethnic family relations in the period 2025-2050. Throughout the review, reference is made to education, and the report ends by outlining the possible future implications of changing families for education and learning.
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TOP KEYWORDS: family, ethnicity, relationships, ageing

Understanding the changing adolescent brain

Stephanie Burnett, Catherine Sebastian and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore

ABSTRACT: Recent brain imaging studies have demonstrated that the human brain continues to develop throughout the adolescent years. Although there are differences between male and female teenagers in terms of...
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the time course of neural development, similar brain areas undergo significant restructuring in both sexes. Brain regions in which development is particularly protracted include the prefrontal cortex and the temporalparietal cortex. These regions are involved in a number of cognitive functions, including decision-making and social cognition (the understanding of other people). The development of these brain regions might contribute to behaviours typically associated with the teenage years, such as increased risk-taking, susceptibility to peer pressure, and reduced self-control. These findings have potentially important implications for how we as a society treat this age group. For example, research on decision-making and impulse control might influence questions of criminal responsibility and anti-social behaviour. Additionally, future research might play a role in shaping educational and social policy, with a view to encouraging a more socially competent and responsible generation of teenagers.
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TOP KEYWORDS: brain, neuroscience, adolescence, young people, psychology, development