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British South Asians and Pathways Into Selective Schooling: Social Class, Culture and Ethnicity

Tahir Abbas
British Educational Research Journal
Vol. 33, No. 1 (Feb., 2007), pp. 75-90
Published by: Wiley on behalf of BERA
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30032725
Page Count: 16
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British South Asians and Pathways Into Selective Schooling: Social Class, Culture and Ethnicity
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Abstract

This article is a theoretical and empirical study of the ways in which different South Asian groups, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani, achieve entry into the selective education system, taking into consideration the factors of social class, ethnicity and culture. In-depth interviews with 42 South Asian school pupils from three single-sex selective schools (one independent and two grammar), 47 South Asian school pupils from three secondary modern schools, and 25 South Asian parents are used to interpret perceptions, attitudes towards, and experiences of selective school entry. It is found that that certain working-class South Asian parents possess strong middle-class attitudes towards selective education, irrespective of their ability to facilitate it as a function of their financial, cultural, or social capital. Middle-class South Asians were not only highly motivated but also possessed the economic, social and cultural capital to ensure successful selective school entry. In general, social class status was the strongest factor in the likelihood of gaining entry into selective schools. This research contributes to the literature on selective education as well as on the intricacies of the British South Asian educational experience.

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