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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.

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
Remaking middle-class hegemony
Christy Kulz

7 Urban chaos and the imagined other: remaking middle-class hegemony While Chapters 5 and 6 explored how students navigated and negotiated Dreamfields’ conveyor belt, where middle-class and mostly white students were positioned as a buffer zone against urban chaos, this chapter examines parents’ orientations to the institution. Responses to the urban chaos discourse show how parents and students conceptualise their positions within this imagined Urbanderry landscape. Discourses of pathology shape the relationships developed between parents and teachers

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

’ language reflects how this agenda has permeated education, with phrases like ‘zero tolerance’ and ‘a culture of no excuses’ used by several teachers. Academisation becomes a way of escaping Urbanderry’s pathologised ‘place-image’ by transforming narratives of failure (Shields, 1991: 6–7). Ironically, these stigmas are overwritten through the reiteration of pathology as the ‘urban chaos’ discourse is drawn upon to justify using ‘boot-camp’ tactics. This chapter maps the contours of the physical environment through which students and teachers are funnelled. It describes

in Factories for learning
Aspiration, loss, endurance and fantasy
Christy Kulz

wanted to be rich. Isaac felt Dreamfields fit with Urbanderry, calling it a metaphorical Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang child-catching machine – but, he quickly exclaimed, while chuckling, ‘in a good way!’ Roald Dahl’s ChildCatcher is a sinister villain employed by the story’s central antagonists to capture children by driving a brightly coloured carriage into village squares, ringing a bell and singing to children that he has free cakes, ice cream and lollipops. After the children are lured into his carriage, the cheerful trappings disappear to reveal that the children are

in Factories for learning
Academies, aspiration and the educationmarket
Christy Kulz

the only way that these children will achieve is if we go the extra mile for them. (Mr Culford, Principal of Dreamfields Academy) This research focuses on Dreamfields Academy,1 a celebrated secondary academy based in the borough of Urbanderry, which is located within the large urban conurbation of Goldport, England. Dreamfields’ ‘structure liberates’ ethos claims to free children from a culture of poverty through discipline and routine. Since Dreamfields opened in 2004, it has become popular with parents, politicians and the media and is continually referenced as

in Factories for learning
Christy Kulz

many urban schools would never dream this was possible, blaming factors like the children being from Urbanderry. Yet this chapter examines how Dreamfields’ ‘high expectations’ are steeped in raced and classed norms that extirpate heterogeneity. Culford’s polysemous positioning acts as a powerful stance, obscuring the particularity of Dreamfields’ universals, as education functions as a coercive tool inducing parents, students and teachers into the dominant symbolic in return for a chance to live out good-life fantasies. A sermon in the church of the self: ‘may good

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

rules are clear before they come in, where children go home to lots of books and stuff like that.’ Structure is less necessary when dealing with middle-class children from disciplined homes with ‘lots of books’. The middle-class child’s normative status is inscribed within Dreamfields’ ethos, signalling how the middle class ‘has become the “particular-universal” class’ whereby a whole range of practices associated with it are ‘regarded as universally “normal”, “good” and “appropriate”’ (Savage 2003: 536). White middle-class children living in Urbanderry are not

in Factories for learning
Abstract only
Historical representations and formations ofrace and class meet neoliberal governance
Christy Kulz

and free and easy in a nice, leafy middle-class area where the ground rules are clear before they come in, where children go home to lots of books and stuff like that. You need lots of rituals and routines in urban education than you do in more prosperous areas. The term ‘urban children’ or ‘Urbanderry children’ is used by several teachers to describe a predominantly ethnic minority and working-class student body. This urban child is contrasted with a middle-class and predominantly white child from leafy suburbia. Culford feels routines are not necessary when

in Factories for learning