Mother's intuition? : choosing secondary schools


    • David, Miriam E.
    • West, Anne
    • Ribbens, Jane


Mother's intuition? : choosing secondary schools

by Miriam David, Anne West, and Jane Ribbens

Falmer Press, 1994

  • : pbk

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 147-153) and index



Parental choice of school is a major policy issue. The 1988 Education Reform Act widened parental choice by creating a range of new types of school including Grant Maintained Schools and City Technology Colleges. In theory, at least, the balance of power between parents and schools as far as choice is concerned has thus altered in the direction of parents as decision makers. At the same time there have been changes in family patterns, creating a greater diversity of family situations in which children grow up. Who chooses their child/children's secondary school? Fathers? Mothers? The child/children? Using qualitative and quantitative data, the athors shed new light on the process of choosing secondary schools. From interviews with both parents and children, the authors demonstrate that the mother is the key player in the selection process. Throughout, the changing nature of families and the role of the parents is considered, in addition to the exploration of gender differences and variation between culturally diverse groupings. This insight into the choice of a child's secondary education shows how various factors such as parents' own educational values, their own educational experiences and those of their children, and their occupation, ethnicity and family situation influence this choice.


  • Contexts and Concepts: Parental Choice or Chosen Parents?
  • Choice of Research Design Characteristics of the Children and their Families
  • Who makes the Choice - Mothers, Fathers, Children or Altogether?
  • Parents' Appreciation of Procedures about School Transfer
  • Parents' Reasons for Choice of Preferred Secondary School
  • 'Discipline' and Parents' rejection of Certain Schools
  • Choice in Broader Context of Family Life: Memories, Attitudes, Hope and Expectations
  • The Pupils' Stories of Choice
  • Conclusions: Choice, Control and Compromise.

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