Open Access (free)
Race, class and school choice

All in the mix: class, race and school choice considers how parents choose secondary schools for their children and makes an important intervention into debates on school choice and education. The book examines how parents talk about race, religion and class – in the process of choosing. It also explores how parents’ own racialised and classed positions, as well as their experience of education, can shape the way they approach choosing schools. Based on in-depth interviews with parents from different classed and racialised backgrounds in three areas in and around Manchester, the book shows how discussions about school choice are shaped by the places in which the choices are made. It argues that careful consideration of choosing schools opens up a moment to explore the ways in which people imagine themselves, their children and others in social, relational space.

Open Access (free)

and how these perceptions shape the ways parents talk about schools in particular areas. But lingering for a moment on the scene of the boy alerts us to the intensely emotional nature of school choice. It is emotional – for both children and parents – because it takes place within a web of social relations. It is emotional because it is about change. Becoming and belonging. Leaving primary school and moving on to high school provides a clear milestone in the progress from child to adult, from family-or-parentas-the-centre to parent-on-the-sidelines. School choice

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)

landscape of school choice, this chapter will consider the impact of this expansion of choice on questions of inequality. In particular, it will elaborate how classed and racialised inequalities are maintained through operations of choice. In order to track the classed nature of choosing, the chapter will draw on Bourdieusian theories of class which have been particularly influential in the field of education. However, the chapter will also argue that Bourdieusian understandings of class, as they are often used in the literature on school choice, risk overlooking the

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)

of a sense of agency described in coming to the area – although many welcomed what the area had to offer – particularly in terms of green spaces, local South Asian grocery shops and mosques which made them feel part of a community. The connection between school and area was less a part of the explicit decision-making process for some of the parents in Whalley Range (as we will discuss further in this chapter). This chapter will examine the almost universal complaint by participants in the research that there is ‘no choice’ at the heart of school choice. It will

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)

. However the literature on ‘people like us’, while revealing important ways in which parents approach school choice, often focuses on the white middle class – leaving the experiences of non-white parents (from a range of class positions) and white working-class parents largely unresearched. This chapter will argue that race, class and gender are undercurrents running through the interviews with a wide variety of parents. Many parents may not consciously be ­thinking – or at least talking – about racial and class differences when they consider what they want from schools

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)
Negotiating with multiculture

5 Evaluating the mix: negotiating with multiculture Introduction The previous chapters have discussed the ways in which parents’ and carers’ discussion of school choice were infused with concerns about their children’s emotions and also how talking about school choice also frequently raised emotional responses. Chapter 4 focused in particular on ideas of threat and contamination which were produced when thinking of high schools and the presence of classed others. This ‘underclass’ was imagined as gendered, identified by both behaviour in and around the school

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)

2 Imagining places Introduction This chapter considers the spatial nature of school choice and introduces the three areas in Greater Manchester in which the study took place: Cheadle Hulme, Chorlton and Whalley Range. In the UK, despite the diversification of different types of schools and modes of admission, schooling remains driven by location. Given that ‘choice’ is limited (discussed further in Chapter 3), the clearest way for families to exercise choice over schooling in the public sector is to move to be nearer a desirable school. Every year, newspapers

in All in the mix
Open Access (free)

out and be drawn into conversations about schools with other parents. Discussions about school choice can be fraught because they are in some senses deeply political – concerned with questions of equity and opportunity – and are also often shaped by economic wealth (the ability to live in the ‘right’ area, to buy in tutoring or to buy a private education). They are also deeply personal. Parents may fear that a wrong step at this stage in a child’s education may have lasting ramifications on their future life. It may set the parameters of the opportunities the child

in All in the mix
New Labour and public sector reform

’, International Sociology, 18 (2). Gleeson, D. and Husbands, C. (2003) ‘Modernizing schooling through performance management: a critical appraisal’, Journal of Education Policy, 18 (5). Gleeson, D. and Knights, D. (2006) ‘Challenging dualism: public professionalism in “troubled” times’, Sociology, 40 (2). Godlee, F. (2007) ‘Careful what you measure’, British Medical Journal, 335 (7629), 24 November. Gorard, S. and Fitz, J. (2006) ‘What counts as evidence in the school choice debate?’, British Educational Research Journal, 32 (6). M1738 - CALLAGHAN TEXT.indd 165 3/8/09 12

in In search of social democracy