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Private education and disadvantage: the experiences of assisted place holders

Power, S; Curtis, A; Whitty, G; Edwards, T; Power, S; Curtis, A; Whitty, G; (2010) Private education and disadvantage: the experiences of assisted place holders. International Studies in Sociology of Education , 20 (1) pp. 23-38. 10.1080/09620211003655622. Green open access

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Abstract

It is now nearly thirty years since Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative administration introduced the Assisted Places Scheme (their first education policy) and over ten years since New Labour abolished it. The Scheme, which was designed to provide a ladder of opportunity for academically able students from poor backgrounds to attend private schools, is of more than historical interest. It can be used to illuminate enduring sociological concerns about the relationship between home and school. This paper draws on retrospective interview data to reveal how the Scheme was experienced by its more disadvantaged beneficiaries. Revisiting classic sociological analyses from the 1960s and 1970s, it unravels the complex interactions between home background, friendship networks and school cultures and shows how these contributed to contrasting experiences of commitment, detachment, estrangement and alienation. These differing modes of engagement with schooling appear to have had lasting effects on our respondents and influenced their subsequent careers and orientations.

Type: Article
Title: Private education and disadvantage: the experiences of assisted place holders
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/09620211003655622
Additional information: It is now nearly thirty years since Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative administration introduced the Assisted Places Scheme (their first education policy) and over ten years since New Labour abolished it. The Scheme, which was designed to provide a ladder of opportunity for academically able students from poor backgrounds to attend private schools, is of more than historical interest. It can be used to illuminate enduring sociological concerns about the relationship between home and school. This paper draws on retrospective interview data to reveal how the Scheme was experienced by its more disadvantaged beneficiaries. Revisiting classic sociological analyses from the 1960s and 1970s, it unravels the complex interactions between home background, friendship networks and school cultures and shows how these contributed to contrasting experiences of commitment, detachment, estrangement and alienation. These differing modes of engagement with schooling appear to have had lasting effects on our respondents and influenced their subsequent careers and orientations.
Keywords: assisted places scheme, private schools, pupil engagement, school culture, Bernstein
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Social Research Institute
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1500347
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