This paper outlines research to assist strategic policy development for post-compulsory education. The aim is to explore the function of vocational education for providing secondary school matriculation outcomes that assist disadvantaged students complete school, gain employment and/or move to further study. This reform process was instigated by the white paper "Securing Their Future" (1997), which provided scope for restructuring educational opportunities available to 16+ students to become more equitably distributed. The planned curriculum changes are expected to impact on groups of students in a distinct manner as many use current vocational education options for various purposes: as an option to more academic courses and for selecting a pathway to further study and/or employment. Most research energy over the last few decades has gone to mainstream education in secondary schools or VET beyond secondary school, leaving our knowledge about education, social justice and the school leavers welfare trap highly inadequate if we want to bring about change.
BERA 99: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference. BERA 99 (Brighton, UK 2-5 September, 1999)