DOMUS Seminar Series 2012
Speaker: Amanda Simon. University of Birmingham
The realm of supplementary schooling is complex and diverse with each school engaged in various educational projects dictated by multiple socio-political factors. Findings of the focal study carried out within supplementary schools in Birmingham, suggest that these institutions are situated within and respond to a number of historical, social and political storylines. These storylines shape the purposes of the schools and in turn, their social positioning. In particular, community histories played a large part in school positioning as it was often the case that current operations of the schools were influenced by recontextualised storylines from the past.
This paper will explore the role of historical narratives in the construction and subsequent positioning of the supplementary schools investigated, employing the key tenets of positioning theory as a theoretical and analytical tool. The paper will explore the general storylines circulating within and around British mainstream schooling during the 1960s–1980s time period, a time when supplementary schooling experienced considerable growth. It will also examine the impact of individual community histories on the schools produced within those communities. This part of the paper will feature the first-hand accounts of school leaders, collected during a series of semi-structured interviews. It will be shown that historical ‘context’ does in fact constitute discursive ‘text’ and therefore should be adequately considered in order to gain a developed understanding of the role and social positioning of supplementary schools.