Young women and implications of part-time senior secondary education

Year: 2006

Author: Woodley-Baker, Rochelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In the context of intense policy, media and public concern about boys' scholastic achievements, girls' relatively high rates of post-compulsory school retention have been positioned as evidence of educational 'success'. Yet critical educationalists have suggested that improved female retention may be seen to reflect (and be a reaction to) continuing barriers to girls' equal participation in post-school life. Against this background, this presentation will address gendered dimensions of part-time senior-secondary study, focusing upon the causes and implications of girls' over-representation within the part-time student cohort and, in turn, the over-representation of part-time students within disadvantaged schools. Discussion will address the gendered nature of the categories 'student' and 'part-time student', informed by an investigation of the lived experiences of girls undertaking senior-secondary study in the part-time mode. It also provides a rationale for a methodology for an activist intervention with a student-led workshop. The paper brings together activist research traditions with feminist social critiques and sociological studies of educational access and success, allowing a fuller exploration of this taken-for-granted group of students.