What are schools for ?

Bacon, Kate Victoria and O'riordan, Zoe orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8083-2648 (2020) What are schools for ? In: Studying Education. SAGE, London. ISBN 978-1-5264-9048-3

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• The idea that all children should receive some formal schooling only became widely accepted from the early nineteenth century.
• When exploring the purposes of school, we find that schools are about more than just ‘transferring knowledge’ to children.
• Schooling is political. Education policy is shaped and debated by political parties.
• Children have very different experiences at school, based on their gender, age, social class, (dis)advantage, ethnicity and (dis)ability, as well as their individual characteristics, and these differences result in different outcomes and different life-chances.
• Children have the right to express their views on all matters concerning them and to participate effectively in decision-making processes concerning them.

This chapter examines children’s experiences of schooling. It introduces you to some key ideas and theories and challenges you to think about what children’s experiences of school reveal about the purpose of schooling. We begin with a brief history of mass schooling and draw your attention to some different political and academic perspectives on the purposes of school. We then move on to discuss children’s perspectives and experiences of school

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