Navigating educational success: Modes of expectation among care-experienced young people

Anne-Kirstine Mølholt, Tea Torbenfeldt Bengtsson, Morten Frederiksen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper explores modes of expectation among care-experienced young people when navigating educational success. Luhmann's theoretical framework is used to conceptualise experiences of educational success and the role of uncertainty. We identify three modes of expectation: trust, risk and danger. To illustrate these modes, we draw on selected examples from an interview study with 28 care-experienced young people focusing on their experiences of support and aftercare while transitioning out of care. The trust mode of expectation is based in a confidence that the future entails a positive outcome—in the case of this study, regarding educational success. This expectation is characterised by the young person's feelings of belonging, underpinned by a safety net of unconditionally supportive caregivers. The risk mode of expectation is characterised by the young person's feeling of being overwhelmed and burdened by the complexity of the educational system in combination with unknown future circumstances when leaving care. The battle against child welfare services to keep supportive measures increases levels of uncertainty. The danger mode of expectation emerges when educational success is disrupted by the interference of child welfare services. The system is seen as unpredictable and powerful, making the young person withdraw from formal support. We conclude that educational success for care-experienced young people is closely linked to their mode of expectation with regard to managing the uncertainty of the future and that their mode is highly dependent on their social, institutional and biographical contexts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)513-528
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • care-experienced
  • educational success
  • modes of expectation
  • uncertainty


Dive into the research topics of 'Navigating educational success: Modes of expectation among care-experienced young people'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this