Policy Press

Schooling Inequality

Aspirations, Opportunities and the Reproduction of Social Class

By Jessie Abrahams

Published

Mar 20, 2024

Page count

184 pages

ISBN

978-1447360285

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Mar 20, 2024

Page count

184 pages

ISBN

978-1447360278

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Mar 20, 2024

Page count

184 pages

ISBN

978-1447360292

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Mar 20, 2024

Page count

184 pages

ISBN

978-1447360292

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press
Schooling Inequality

Despite a mass expansion of the higher education sector in the UK since the 1960s, young people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds remain less likely to enter university than their advantaged counterparts.

Drawing on unique new research gathered from three contrasting secondary schools in England, including interviews with children from three year groups and careers advisors, this book explores the aspirations, opportunities and experiences of young people from different social-class backgrounds against a backdrop of continuing inequalities in education.

By focusing both on the stories of young people and the schools themselves, the book sheds light on the institutional structures and practices that render young people more, or less, able to pursue their aspirations.

"This innovative and beautifully-written book elucidates the insidious everyday ways that class reproduction continues in all areas of England’s school system. " Sam Friedman, London School of Economics

"A subtle and fascinating comparison of what happens in three schools in one city, revealing not only different practices, but also their life-shaping consequences. A powerful challenge to widespread assumptions about the role of aspirations in opportunities and outcomes." David James, Cardiff University

“Abrahams provides a raw and humbling account of the differential experiences of young people within the class-divided English school system, illustrating that nothing but a radical change in its structure will facilitate equality.” Nicola Ingram, University College Cork

“Based on rich interviews and detailed ethnographic observations, Schooling Inequality offers a sobering account of how class matters in the 21st century. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in challenging social inequality, improving education and supporting young people.” Derron Wallace, Brandeis University

Jessie Abrahams is Lecturer in Education and Social Justice in the School of Education at the University of Bristol.

Introduction

1. Reproduction: Social Class Inequality in Education

2. The Three Schools

3. Aspiration, Aspiration, Aspiration: ‘The Only Thing They’ve Forced Me To Do Is Keep My Options Open’

4. Knowledge, Familiarity and Physical Proximity: ‘Everyone in My Family Has Gone to University, I Don’t See Why I Shouldn’t’

5. Option Blocks that Block Options (GCSEs)

6. Packages, Facilitating Subjects and ‘Keeping the Options Open’ (A Levels)

7. Institutional Concerted Cultivation

8. Aim Lower: Leashing Aspirations and Internalising Notions of (In)ability

9. Jake’s Story: A Journey to Reflexivity

10. Conclusion