SOAS University of London

School of History, Religions and Philosophies

Secondary Education and Social Change in the UK since 1945

Chris Jeppesen, Cambridge University

Date: 5 December 2018Time: 3:00 PM

Finishes: 5 December 2018Time: 5:00 PM

Venue: Paul Webley Wing (Senate House) Room: Room S209

Type of Event: Seminar

This talk will introduce our ongoing ESRC-funded research project based at the Faculty of History, University of Cambridge, Secondary education and social change in the United Kingdom since 1945. We are seeking to write a new history of secondary education, across all sectors and all four nations, focusing on the experience of parents and pupils rather than on policy change. This ambition will involve imaginative source work, historiographical flexibility, and engagement with the conclusions of sociologists and economists, who have been working on similar questions over the past decades.

1. The transition to multiracial education in London secondary schools, c. 1968 – 1985

In the introductory paper, Chris Jeppesen takes the topic of race in 1970s education to unpack some of the methodological challenges of the project and explore several of the themes that have emerged during the first year of research. Public debates around education were especially fraught in this decade as comprehensivization gathered pace and the demographic profile of London’s secondary schools rapidly started to change as the children of the Windrush generation moved-on from primary school. Film, media, and televisual representations of ethnic minority pupils in UK schools in the 1970s set new parameters on public debates around education, without paying much attention to how pupils themselves experienced life in the classroom and corridors. Focussing on the transition to multiracial secondary education in London schools, we consider the tensions that emerged between local authorities, schools, parents, and pupils as London’s secondary school population became increasingly diverse. The paper will explore both the entrenched, systemic prejudice faced by BAME families but also the community based and pupil opposition that sought to challenge persistent patterns of racial inequality in secondary education and shape new discourses of multiracial, democratic citizenship.

2. In-conversation with Professor Peter Mandler

The second part of the seminar will comprise a wider discussion with the project PI, Peter Mandler, on topics raised during the paper, as well as the broader context of secondary and higher education in the UK after 1945.

All Welcome -free of charge

Organiser: Prof Catherine Hezser

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Contact Tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4633