Schools in Disadvantaged Areas: Recognising Context and Raising Quality

44 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2008

See all articles by Ruth Lupton

Ruth Lupton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: January 2004

Abstract

Both educational attainment and school quality are typically lower in disadvantaged areas than others and much recent policy attention has been focused on each. This paper looks at the quality problem, exploring the relationships between disadvantaged contexts, what schools do, and the quality of schooling that they provide. The findings suggest that disadvantaged contexts impact on the organisation and processes of schools and that these effects differ significantly from one area to another, in ways that are not reflected by the usual indicators of disadvantage. School managers respond by adapting organisational design and processes. They are, however, constrained in these responses by the limited and short-life funding available, by the lack of evidence of good practice in specific contexts, and by lack of flexibility over major issues of organisation design and curriculum. Challenging contexts and the constraints on school responses together exert a downward pressure on quality. The paper argues that because school processes and quality are affected by context, school improvement in disadvantaged areas will not be achieved by generic measures, but only by policies tailored to disadvantaged areas and sensitive to differences between these areas. It suggests ways in which school improvement policies could be contextualised in order to raise quality in the poorest areas.

JEL Classification: I28, R00

Suggested Citation

Lupton, Ruth, Schools in Disadvantaged Areas: Recognising Context and Raising Quality (January 2004). LSE STICERD Research Paper No. CASE076. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1158967

Ruth Lupton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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