Education Policy and the Binds of Poverty: Lack of Aspiration or a Failure of the Imagination?

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


An enduring problem for educational policy makers in the UK is in accounting for why so few students from low socio-economic (SES) backgrounds are successful in school, and that while there has been a slight improvement in the educational achievement of working class children over the last twenty years, they are still twice as likely to leave school having underperformed with respect to their more affluent peers. This chapter unpicks the policy position on this question, founded on an assumption that underachievement is due to a lack of aspiration on the part of families and children. Against this, an alternative and more complex set of explanations are advanced, which illuminate a failure on the part of policy makers to imagine or understand the realities of school life for low SES students.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Working Class
Subtitle of host publicationPoverty, Education and Alternative Voices
EditorsIan Gilbert
PublisherCrown House
ISBN (Print)9781781352786
Publication statusAcceptance date - 2018


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