A key paradox of more affluent Western post-industrial nation states is the widening gap between rich and poor schools, communities, and families (Teese, Lamb, Duru-Bellat, 2007). PISA results indicate that in Australia, socio- economic background, rurality and indigeneity are key determinants of student outcomes in standardised tests (Thomson, 2012). Vinson (2007) has mapped how there is a higher concentration of poor community health and wellbeing, unemployment and underemployment, crime and educational underachievement in particular localities in Australia. But this is not coincidental. Educational achievement we know is linked to health and wellbeing, and also to prior achievement and sense of success which in turn is reliant upon regular school attendance. Poverty disrupts schooling. This paper undertakes a socio-geographic mapping of the three localities in which the student cohorts lived, worked, played and went to school. It considers how place both enables and constrains how students imagine their futures (Maira, 2012). It reflects on student understandings of place as identified through interviews with middle years and post-compulsory students and considers how place informs how they imagine their futures and shapes their possibilities (Pomerantz, Hughes & Thompson, 2007). In concluding, suggestions are made as to how policy has and can address the complexity arising from such an analysis (Dyson, Gunter, Hall, Raffo, Jones and Kalambouka, 2011).
Dyson, A., Gunter, H.., Hall, D., Raffo, C., Jones, L. and Kalambouka, A. (2011) What is to be done? Implications for Policy Makers. In Raffo, C., Dyson, A. D., Gunter, H.M., Hall, D., Jones, L, and Kalambouka, A. (Eds.). (2011) Education and Poverty in Affluent Countries. Routledge Research in Education. London: Routledge
Maira, S. (2012) Everyday exceptions; geograpies of social imaginaries. In Lesko, N., and Talburt, S., (eds) Keywords in Youth Studies. Tracing affects, movements, knowledges. London: Routledge.
Pomerantz, K., Hughes. M. and THompson, D. (eds) (2007) How to Reach 'Hard to Reach' Children. London: Routledge
Teese,R. Lamb, S. and Duru-Bellat, M. (eds.) (2007), International Studies in Educational Inequality, Theory and Policy Volume 2: Inequality in Education Systems, Netherlands: Springer, pp. 271-293.
Thomson, S. (2012). Australia - PISA. Directorate for School Education. Retrieved 24 May 2012 from http://www.oecd.org/document/21/0,3746,en_2649_35845621_39903381_1_1_1_1,00.html
Vinson, T. (2007). Dropping off the Edge: The Distribution of disadvantage in Australia. Melbourne: Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia.