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Stepping out of the shadows : exploring how middle class and working class parents choose a secondary school for their children - a study in the Irish market

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dc.contributor.advisor Tormey, Roland
dc.contributor.author Prendergast, Tom
dc.date.accessioned 2011-12-06T15:32:16Z
dc.date.available 2011-12-06T15:32:16Z
dc.date.issued 2011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10344/1665
dc.description peer-reviewed en_US
dc.description.abstract This research has examined how middle class parents have mobilised themselves as active consumers in the educational marketplace, where it appears that educational markets work to the advantage of middle class parents and to the disadvantage of working class parents, notably in the area of school choice. The research design utilised qualitative research methods and was closely related to the interpretivist research philosophy. By conducting eighteen indepth interviews with parents of children entering or having recently entered first year in secondary school in Limerick city (Ireland), complete with its unique Common Application Process, this research hopes to allow the seldom heard voice of parents, tell their own narratives of the school choice process in Limerick city. This research makes some interesting findings that may not have been dealt with in the literature on educational inequality previously, namely that (i) working class parents in this research do care about their children’s education, contrary to what the educational markets believe; (ii) there appears to be a dearth of knowledge, in an Irish context, into parental choice of secondary school, something this research may begin to fill, as the voice of those affected by educational inequality is not listened to often enough; (iii) the plight of the most vulnerable of parents – the ‘rookie’ working class parent, the first time parent entering this educational marketplace as a novice – needs to be (a) heard and (b) supported; (iv) perhaps it is time for a transparent and equitable enrolment of students from all social classes into secondary schools to replace evident selection policies that are operated in some schools. The author recommends that the role of emotional care needs to hold a higher place of prominence in the dialogue on educational inequality; that schools, in conjunction with the various educational agencies, should actively seek to encourage interaction with parents as a means of reducing parental anxiety; that schools should move towards a more cost conscious approach to the issues of uniform, books and ancillary extras to ease the significant costs associated with entering first year in secondary school, especially for working class parents; that the practice of streaming in schools be ended; that a clearer picture of how crucial a role cultural capital plays in educational disadvantage in Irish society is needed; that it is imperative that the issue of educational inequality is a prominent feature in all teachertraining programmes, as well as being a part of in-service for existing teachers through their careers; that schools on their own cannot reduce inequality and its links to poverty, what is required is a national collaborative alliance of all the key stakeholders to reduce educational inequality. en_US
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher University of Limerick en_US
dc.subject education en_US
dc.subject consumers en_US
dc.title Stepping out of the shadows : exploring how middle class and working class parents choose a secondary school for their children - a study in the Irish market en_US
dc.type Master thesis (Research) en_US
dc.type.supercollection all_ul_research en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_published_reviewed en_US
dc.type.supercollection ul_theses_dissertations en_US
dc.type.restriction none en


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