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Regional geographies of education and elite formation in a fractured United Kingdom (DOMUS seminar)

Room G39, School of Education (R19)
Social Sciences
Thursday 14th May 2020 (17:30-19:00)
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Sol Gamsu

This seminar will draw on a range of research to examine the contemporary and historical geography of elite schooling across the UK.

With speaker Dr Sol Gamsu from Durham University

Three analyses are brought together in this paper an attempt to understand how spatially varied processes of class formation through the school system in the UK have been historically produced. It uses social network analysis to explore how contemporary geographies of the transition between school and university reflect historic regional divisions and suggest distinctive hierarchies of elite schools and universities. 

In this analysis, Welsh private schools, unlike their Scottish peers, are tied into a primarily English system of elite universities, private schools and elite state schools suggesting a distinct geography of state and elite/middle-class formation. Qualitative data from a large ESRC project to examine how these national trends are underpinned by an archipelagic understanding of space and universities by students at elite fee-paying schools. Data on trends in private schooling participation in England is explored to underline how private schooling has become even more skewed towards the South-East of England since 2008. These data are discussed in relation to historical arguments by Rubinstein (1986) about the dualism of the English middle-class in relation to education and the arguments of Walford (1987; 2014) about the state’s role in supporting independent schools. I then explore the geography of the financial wealth of elite fee-paying schools, discussing the historical provenance of this wealth in a number of interesting cases.


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