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Choice, cost and community : the hidden complexities of the rural primary school market.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1/11/2010
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Journal number6
Volume38
Number of pages16
Pages712-727
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

National rural policy places the local primary school as a key resource within the rural community, yet as a consequence of countywide financial constraints, some small schools are undergoing reorganization, involving amalgamation, federation and school closure. This article considers the complexities involved in the workings of the English rural primary school market for parents and for schools, the cost dilemma of providing primary education for local authorities and the perception that the local school provides a key service to the rural community. Using primary data collected through interviews and observations the article focuses on a small school operating under the threat of closure, and the ensuing campaign by the ‘education-insider’ parents to save their school from closure as the local authority attempts to balance school and community service delivery with cost effectiveness. The article argues that the previously hidden consequence of cost logic is an aspect largely overlooked both in the rhetoric of the school at the heart of the rural community and in the rhetoric of parental choice.