Social justice and school improvement: Improving the quality of schooling in the poorest neighbourhoods

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Abstract

Social justice in education demands, at the very least, that all students should have access to the same quality of educational processes, even if their outcomes turn out to be unequal. Yet schools in the poorest neighbourhoods are consistently adjudged to provide a lower quality of education than those in more advantaged areas. Based on a qualitative study of four such schools, this article explores links between the contexts in which they were operating and the quality of education provided. It concludes that high-poverty contexts exert downward pressures on quality, and that consistently high levels of quality in schools in the poorest neighbourhoods need to be assured by policy measures that alter their context or, through greater funding, improve their organisational capacity to respond. Social justice will not be achieved by managerialist policies that seek to improve schools by addressing the performance of managers and staff, without a recognition of the context in which this performance takes place. © 2005 British Educational Research Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589-604
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Volume31
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005

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