An Overview of the Demand for Post-compulsory Education by British Men, 1955–77
The number of students attending full-time education after the age of 16, when compulsory education ends, is determined by (i) the size of the relevant age group, and (ii) the percentage of the age group attending full-time education. The former is known fairly precisely several years before students reach the age of 16. The latter is not known, because it fluctuates in response to demand (whether students want to continue with further education) and supply (whether they are able to continue, having received the relevant qualification). Supply constraints, however, are not likely to operate before university; variations in the percentage of the age group continuing with education up to GCE ‘A’ level examinations (taken by most students at the age of 18) are almost certain to be the result of demand shifts. Students qualifying for university entry (obtaining two or more GCE ‘A’ levels), and wishing to pursue it, may find that there are restrictions in the number of places that can be offered. If this is so, the percentage of the age group entering university may vary in response to both demand and supply shifts, but as we shall argue below there is no evidence of operative supply constraints after 1963.
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