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Title: Gender, class and decision-making : a study within an independent school
Author: Marson-Smith, Helen Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2008
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There is a lack of research on the middle class in general, and especially on those who attend independent schools. This is noticeably profound in the field of educational decision-making at the ages of sixteen and eighteen. Whilst recent studies have attempted to address such issues, the focus has tended to fall on a very limited number of students attending highly selective schools, which are often based in London: and are heavily reliant on parental accounts of their offspring's decision-making. In this study, I seek to address these identified gaps, in presenting a study of student decision-making within a non-academically-selective independent school for girls, given the pseudonym 'Midham School', which is located in a town in the Midlands of England. The study draws on observational data from Careers lessons and institutional school events such as Open Days, and students' own responses given in a questionnaire and in semi-structured small-group interviews, as well as interviews with key staff members, collected over the course of one academic year. Resulting from these, a picture will be built up of the dominant discourses relating to educational decision-making within the school and home. Theoretically, the study addresses aspects of both structure and agency. Although there is a focus on the way in which individual young women draw on differing discourses in order to inform their agentic decision-making, these decisions are seen to be framed by structural factors such as social class, gender and academic ability. These factors are shown to have a defining effect on how the young women constructed themselves (and were constructed) as gendered and classed individuals through the decisions that they (and their families) made regarding their education, training and future careers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) (PTA-030-2004-00807)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; LC Special aspects of education