This chapter focuses explicitly on parents’ discussions of ethnic diversity.
These are put in the context of policies around multiculturalism and
integration in which schools have been a key policy site. Parents were more
likely to consider diversity as something related to race or ethnicity
rather than class. The chapter contends that we lack a differentiated
vocabulary for discussing diversity and ‘mix’. Furthermore, there are
distinct discourses around ethnic diversity circulating in the different
areas, with parents in the area with the least ethnic diversity, in
particular, expressing reservations and fears about increasing diversity.
Parents of BME children have a particular stake in seeking out schools with
an ethnic mix as they see those schools as potentially offering their
children security against the racism and racialised othering which they
might face in more white schools (and which the parents themselves may have
experienced in their own schooling in Britain). Thus the book argues that it
is critical that we consider questions of both class and race when
understanding parents’ views about school choice, but that we should also be
attentive to ways in which ideas and imaginations of place frame parents
approaches to schooling and education.
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