Locational disadvantage and its impact on public schools' capacity to convert opportunity into student outcomes: Implications for student imaginaries and policy

Year: 2012

Author: Blackmore, Jill, Hanewald, Ria

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


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).



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