Much research has already been done on the aspirations of young people in lower (vocational) education. As a result, we have learnt more about why students may have high or low aspirations, and to what end their aspirations may lead them. However, there are still some crucial elements missing from the existing academic framework around pupils’ aspirations, which deals with the realisation of pupils’ ambitions. Through the study of ethnographic cases of native Dutch white girls in a lower vocational school, voicing their aspirations, two new concepts will be introduced: reasons and resources. With these two additions, it is hoped that this article will contribute to the existing academic literature on pupils’ ambitions, and it also endeavours to provide useful input for school staff to help them deal with the complexity of the formation and realisation of pupils’ aspirations in vocational schools.

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Keywords pupils’ aspirations, Reasons, resources, secondary education, The Netherlands
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Journal Ethnography and Education
Stam, T. (Talitha). (2017). Reasons and resources: understanding pupils’ aspirations in lower vocational Dutch education. Ethnography and Education, 1–12. doi:10.1080/17457823.2016.1237880