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Making race, class and inequalityin the neoliberal academy
Author: Christy Kulz

Over half of England's secondary schools are now academies. The social and cultural outcomes prompted by this neoliberal educational model has received less scrutiny. This book draws on original research based at Dreamfields Academy, to show how the accelerated marketization and centralization of education is reproducing raced, classed and gendered inequalities. Urbanderry is a socially and economically mixed borough where poverty and gentrification coexist. The book sketches out the key features of Dreamfields' ethos before reflecting on the historical trajectories that underpin how education, urban space and formations of race, class and gender are discussed in the present. Academies have faced opposition for their lack of democratic accountability as they can set their own labour conditions, deviate from the national curriculum and operate outside local authority control. The book examines the complex stories underlying Dreamfields' glossy veneer of success and shows how students, teachers and parents navigate the everyday demands of Dreamfields' results-driven conveyor belt. It also examines how hierarchies are being reformulated. The book interrogates the social and cultural dimensions of this gift that seeks to graft more 'suitable' forms of capital onto its students. The focus is on the conditions underlying this gift's exchange with children, parents and teachers, remaining conscious of how value is generated from the power, perspective and relationships that create the initial conditions of possibility for exchange. Dreamfields acts as a symbolic and material response to the supposed failures of comprehensive education and public anxieties over the loss of nationhood and prestige of empire.

Academies, aspiration and the educationmarket
Christy Kulz

1 Building new narratives: academies, aspiration and the education market Children who come from unstructured backgrounds, as many of our children do, and often very unhappy ones, should be given more structure in their lives. So it means that the school in many ways becomes a sort of surrogate parent to the child and the child will only succeed if the philosophy of the school is that we will in many ways substitute and take over where necessary … Therefore we want staff who commit themselves to that ethos. It’s not a nine-to-five ethos; it’s an ethos which says

in Factories for learning
Remaking middle-class hegemony
Christy Kulz

lower school to sixth-form college. Whose oasis? Many middle-class parents recognised their innate ‘worth’ on the education market, and their ability to manipulate this market. Middle-class students’ favoured status connects to their parents’ position of value to form a circuitous route of privilege. As Ball (2003) points out, this preferred position must be ­struggled for; efforts must be made to secure their child’s position on the conveyor belt. Veronica described how a group of middle-class parents at her daughter’s primary school actively strategised to gain

in Factories for learning
A ‘well-oiled machine’ to combaturban chaos
Christy Kulz

deliver something from A to B, that’s what the school’s doing. The school’s taking the children from one position and getting them to the other. And if a wheel falls off, that can hinder, so what we need to be sure of is that in every single aspect of this school, the academy works. Every aspect of the school works. (Mr Davis, SMT) This chapter describes how Dreamfields responds to narratives of failure, the demands of the education market, and anxieties over national decline explored in Chapters 1 and 2. Dreamfields is disciplined through a variety of practices to

in Factories for learning
Christy Kulz

normative. This chapter draws out a few key conclusions and reflects on more equitable approaches to education. Changing urban culture? Although Dreamfields’ ‘oasis in the desert’ was allegedly built to transform urban children, Dreamfields has also become a haven for Urbanderry’s middle classes, changing urban culture in unanticipated ways. Besides grafting cultural capital onto students, it actively seeks out those who already have the capitals it requires to excel in the education market. Chapter 7 concluded that this reiteration of middle-class hegemony gives ‘oasis

in Factories for learning
Open Access (free)
Bridget Byrne and Carla De Tona

Chapter 3, parents often feel a lack of choice. The education market is affected by limits of supply (schools cannot easily ‘spring up’ to meet a demand) which means that schools do not operate in a pure market. The cost of some schools being winners in the market for students and funding is that others will be losers. Yet many children still have to attend those ‘losing’ schools. There are only so many places which popular schools can offer for students and, for many parents and children, the notion of choice becomes a fiction, particularly in those areas where all the

in All in the mix
Abstract only
Radical education, past and present
Jessica Gerrard

), 105–17; J. A. Gordon, ‘Community responsive schools, mixed housing, and community regeneration’, Journal of Education Policy, 23:2 (2003), 181–92. 14 See J. Avis, ‘More of the same? New Labour, the Coalition and education: markets, localism and social justice’, Education Review, 63:4 (2011), 421–38; E.g. S. Ranson, J. Martin and C. Vincent, ‘Storming parents, schools and communicative action’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25:3 (2004), 259–74. 15 D. Reay, ‘Mothers’ involvement in their children’s schooling: social reproduction in action?’, in G

in Radical childhoods
Acceptance, critique and the bigger picture
Anne B. Ryan

they will not be conspicuous at school and in social situations. It also supports assertions that without apparent essentials such as computers and fee-paying schools, young people will be left behind in the job and education markets. This discourse is also associated with a practice of parents buying things for their children in order to compensate for the fact that they spend long periods of time apart, while parents are at work. New essentials discourses also support the creation of self-esteem and self-assertion by means of possessions. They have the effect of

in The end of Irish history?
Christy Kulz

has made it to the top. Crafting ‘appropriate’ aesthetic appearances and reiterating Dreamfields’ superior position in the education market are also facets of this indoctrination process, offering powerful proof of institutional validity and providing a sweetener, allowing the often unpleasant medicine of discipline to go down smoothly. Dreamfields staff recite the universally high expectations of students. Mr Davis describes how a teacher at a nearby school nearly fell off his chair when he told him Dreamfields’ predicted GCSE 80 per cent pass rate, adding that

in Factories for learning
Mapping the inequitable foundations of Dreamfields’ conveyor belt
Christy Kulz

, you know, whether or not I personally agree with it from a moral point, I know that as a teacher in Goldport schools, you’ve got to have those kids and those parents on board. You’ve got to. Dreamfields’ survival in the education market is tied to the steady generation of exam results, and, as Ms Wainwright describes, the middle-class child – c­ onsistently envisioned as white – features as a valuable commodity. This reflects Reay and her colleagues’ assertion that in a target-driven culture (white) middle-class children are perceived as valuably helping schools

in Factories for learning