Primary School Choice and the ‘Good’ Mother: Balancing Complex Support Needs and Responsibility
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The principle of school choice has become firmly embedded in the education context of Australia. This chapter examines the primary school choices made by three mothers described as having complex support needs, living in New South Wales, Australia. These needs related both to their own health and well-being, as well as those of other family members. The mothers participated in a series of conversational interviews as their children prepared for, and later started, school. Aligned with decisions about school choice, the mothers described the responsibilities they felt to make the ‘right’ school choices for their children, as well as a wide range of constraints they experienced. The school choices made by these mothers were shaped by their resources and their histories. Available economic capital influenced choices, as did the ways in which social and cultural capital was activated. For each of these mothers, school choice and responsible mothering were intertwined.
KeywordsSchool Choice Support Need Support Complex Cultural Capital Start School
This work was supported by the Australian Research Council Linkages Grant [LP0669546]. Partners in the grant were Mission Australia and the then NSW Department of Communities.
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