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Becoming Prospective Medicine Students. A Case Study of Access to Medicine Students’ Descriptions of Their Experiences of a Further Education Course in the UK as Determined Through Narrative Enquiry and Poststructuralist Discourse Analysis



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Knowles, James Edward 


‘Becoming prospective medicine students' is about how ‘Access to medicine’ students at a college of Further Education (FE) in England describe their experiences of the course and how they become positioned through discourses as they prepare to progress from an ‘Access’ course to medical schools. The research explores students’ descriptions of their experiences of an ‘Access to medicine’ course and discusses whether the course is promoting equity and inclusion for socially and educationally disadvantaged students. The thesis contributes to the literature on widening participation in Higher Education (HE), mainly widening participation in medicine. Only the second educational research report into an ‘Access to medicine’ course, the thesis extends understandings of the same course at the same FE college eighteen years later. The novel contribution is that this is the first report to investigate the students' experiences of an ‘Access to medicine’ course using Foucauldian discourse analysis. I argue that the dominant ‘learning market’ approach to FE undermines the aims of ‘Access to HE’ courses which are designed to widen participation in HE and promote equity and inclusion of students. Policymakers and OFSTED need to wake up and recognise that dominating discourses based around the hard work ethic and vocational biases towards the purposes of FE promote capitalism and reproduce the social and educational inequalities which consecutive governments since 1979 have claimed to aim to reduce. ‘Becoming prospective medicine students' offers an alternative to existing research into widening participation in medicine through reporting the students’ subjective experiences of an ‘Access to medicine’ course while exploring whether and how the course actually widens participation in medicine. It is hoped that ‘Becoming prospective medicine students’ will prove useful to anyone interested in students' experiences of FE courses, anyone questioning the political motives of policymakers and exposing them or anyone wondering what it is like to aspire to study medicine at university.





Taber, Keith
Alderton, Julie


becoming, medicine, case study, Access, Further Education, poststructuralist, discourse, analysis, narrative, enquiry


Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge