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What Do We Know and Not Know about Choice of Medium of Education in South-East Wales?

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It is widely assumed that as a result of school choice, Welsh-medium schools in south-east Wales largely cater for students from privileged, middle-class backgrounds. The main aim of this article is to examine whether evidence supports this assumption. While it is difficult to determine whether Welsh-medium schools are elite educational institutions or not, it is evident based on data on free school meals (an indicator of household poverty) ratios of schools, that Welsh-medium schools have on average lower proportion of students from the poorest households compared to English-medium schools in south-east Wales. This article also aims to explain how the context (the circumstances in which decisions are made) and process (how decisions are made) of school choice contribute towards the trends with regards to the social composition of Welsh-medium and English-medium schools in south-east Wales. This article argues that by drawing on both Rational Choice Theory and Bourdieu's Cultural Reproduction Theory (two theoretical frameworks that have been influential on school choice research), researchers will be able to gain a better understanding of the process underlying choice of medium of education.
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Keywords: BOURDIEU; CAPITAL; HABITUS; RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY; SCHOOL CHOICE; SOCIAL CLASS; WELSH-MEDIUM EDUCATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • Previously published under the title University of Wales Journal of Education, this internationally-distributed annual journal offers an arena for disseminating education research from national and international perspectives. The journal explores a range of controversial arguments relating to education, including areas such as bilingualism, religion in education, well-being and the standards of literacy and numeracy. The contemporary drive for improved education standards, within Wales and internationally, provides a wealth of interdisciplinary research opportunities, and the journal aims to publish research reports relating to these current issues. The journal also includes a comprehensive reviews section.

    Mae'r cylchgrawn blynyddol hwn, a adwaenid gynt fel Cylchgrawn Addysg Prifysgol Cymru, yn trafod agweddau datganoledig ar addysg, ynghyd ag ymdrin ag addysg o safbwynt cenedlaethol a rhyngwladol. Wrth ymhel â materion cyfoes yn ymwneud ag addysg, mae'r drafodaeth yn amlinellu safbwyntiau dadleuol ynghylch dwyieithrwydd a chrefydd yn ogystal â safonau llythrennedd a rhifedd. Mae'r ymdrechion i wella safonau addysg yng Nghymru a thu hwnt yn esgor ar feysydd ymchwil newydd, a bwriad y cyfnodolyn yw cyhoeddi erthyglau cryno yn ymdrin â materion cyfredol o'r fath. Mae'r cyfnodolyn hefyd yn cynnwys adran adolygiadau.

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