Urban Education in the United Kingdom: Section Editors' Introduction

  • Carol Campbell
  • Geoff Whitty
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 19)

For over 100 years researchers have pointed to the damaging effects on education of the particular combinations and concentrations of social and economic disadvantage experienced in urban contexts. However, urban education studies as a specific field of inquiry emerged in the United Kingdom (UK) during the late 1960s. It was partly influenced by the developing field in the United States and the perceived “crisis” of education in cities, but also framed to a greater degree than in the United States by critical perspectives drawn from the emerging “new sociology of education” (Young, 1971).

The contributions to this section of the Handbook explore the perception, interpretation and implications of the current urban education “crisis” and the assumptions underlying it. They seek to engage critically and constructively with the pressing research and policy agenda, but in a manner which questions “present crisis” and “quick fix” solutions (Reeder, 1992). This is consistent with Grace’s (1984) “critical scholarship” approach, involving “empirical enquiry in urban education which, at its best, is historically and theoretically situated on the one hand and generative of critical action on the other.” This he contrasted with other approaches that tend to “provide only a contextual rhetoric of the urban rather than a substantive emphasis upon it” and to produce “school-centred solutions with no sense of the structural, the political and the historical as constraints” (Grace, 1984, p. xii).


Education Policy Urban School School Improvement Urban Context Labour Government 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol Campbell
    • 1
  • Geoff Whitty
    • 2
  1. 1.Formally Institute of Education, University of LondonU.K.
  2. 2.Institute of Education, University of LondonU.K.

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