Little is known about mechanisms behind well-documented disability differentials in educational outcomes. This study uses data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England to investigate educational transitions of disabled youth. Differentials in transition rates to full-time academic upper secondary education and to university are highly reflected in differences in school performance between disabled and non-disabled young people. However, similarly achieving disabled young people are less likely to pursue full-time academic upper secondary education compared to their non-disabled peers. We find that lower educational expectations play an important role in explaining these results, whereas bullying plays a smaller role. This research moves beyond medical models that implicitly assume a naturalised association of disability with poor educational outcomes, and demonstrates the parallels of disability with other ascriptive inequalities.
The article can be accessed on The British Journal of Sociology
Photo credit to MC Quinn