The ‘Young People from a Public Care Background: Pathways to Education in Europe’ project was funded by the European Commission under Framework Programme 7 and coordinated from the United Kingdom. It brought together a multidisciplinary team of social scientists from five European Union member states representing different welfare regime arrangements. The research was designed to inform policy by developing a greater understanding of the situation of young people in public care and their education, focusing on the post-compulsory phase, and to develop recommendations for national and European action to improve educational participation rates.
As the first cross-national project in this area, which was seriously neglected in policy, the project design included a number of different methodological strategies to address information at different levels. These included a review of literature, secondary analysis of large-scale datasets, surveys of policy and practice in local areas and interviews in selected case study areas with professionals, young people and adults nominated by the young people. Particular attention was devoted to conceptual issues at the research design stage and to ensuring that account was taken of contextual factors, including the research cultures of the team members, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data and the dissemination of findings.