Alternative education caters and cares for students whose regular schools have failed and excluded them. Fifty years of international research reports that alternative settings are characterised by close and powerful staff–student relationships, a curriculum which is relevant, engaging and meaningful, and the strong sense of agency afforded young people by the opportunity to make decisions. Together, these three practices produce increased life chances for alternative education participants.
However, despite these apparent successes, alternative education seems to have had little impact on mainstream schools. This collection of papers addresses the important question – what might regular schools and teachers learn about socially just pedagogies from alternative education practices? In providing answers to this question, authors interrogate the taken-for-granted wisdom about alternative education while also taking account of ongoing policy shifts, differing locations and populations, and persistent and intersecting patterns of raced, classed and gendered inequalities. They draw on a range of theoretical and methodological approaches to interrogate the ways in which alternative schools and alternative education both challenge and legitimate the kinds of schooling most of us expect for our own and other people's children.
The chapters in this book were originally published as a special issue of Critical Studies in Education.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Alternative programmes, alternative schools and social justice 1. Cracking with affect: relationality in young people’s movements in and out of mainstream schooling 2. Young black males: resilience and the use of capital to transform school ‘failure’ 3. Caught between a rock and a hard place: disruptive boys’ views on mainstream and special schools in New South Wales, Australia 4. ‘It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long while’: teenage mothers’ experiences of educational alternatives 5. Meaningful education for returning-to-school students in a comprehensive upper secondary school in Iceland 6. Disciplinary regimes of ‘care’ and complementary alternative education 7. Alternative education and social justice: considering issues of affective and contributive justice 8. The force of habit: channelling young bodies at alternative education spaces 9. Teachers’ work and innovation in alternative schools
Glenda McGregor is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of School (Academic) in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Australia. She teaches in the areas of globalisation and education, youth studies and history curriculum. Her research interests include sociology of youth, democratic and alternative forms of education, curriculum, and social justice and education.
Martin Mills is Professor and Director of the Teachers and Teaching Research Centre, Institute of Education, University College London, UK. His research interests include alternative education, new pedagogies, social justice issues in education and teachers’ work. His most recent (co-authored) books are The Politics of Differentiation in Schools (2017, Routledge) and Re-imagining Schooling for Education (2017, Palgrave Macmillan).
Pat Thomson is Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham, UK. Her work centres on the ways in which educational practices can be made more equitable; her research currently focuses on arts and cultural education in schools, communities, galleries and museums. She is a former school leader of alternative and disadvantaged schools.
Jodie Pennacchia began her career working in learner support roles in mainstream and alternative schools. She has published work in the field of alternative education and is currently writing papers from her doctoral thesis, which explores the production of academy status in the context of an ‘underperforming’ school. She is a Researcher at the Learning and Work Institute, where her work evaluates the inclusivity of a range of education and training programmes.