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“It’s a bit of freedom away from home and cleaning all the time”: Schooling, gender relations and Gypsy communities in England

Dave Cudworth (Department of Education, De Montfort University , Leicester, UK)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 7 May 2019

Issue publication date: 28 May 2019

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Abstract

Purpose

Much has been written over the past 50 years about the concerns associated with the educational underachievement of Gypsy children in England. This work has usually focussed on ethnicity and mobility as key factors that affect school attendance. However, it is only relatively recently that a concern with gender relations has entered the debate. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to provide an empirically driven contribution to this fledging area of enquiry.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper draws on semi-structured interview material and a focus group discussion about the educational experiences and aspirations of three mothers and six young women from the community. Further, interview materials were collected from two head teachers with Gypsy children in their schools and two Traveller Education Support Staff.

Findings

This paper finds how educational “public” space is providing a place for girls and young women to think differently and even begin to challenge the gender regimes embedded within the “private” space of their communities.

Originality/value

In line with the idea that space and place are fundamental in formulating gender relations, this paper frames this phenomenon within a socio-spatial context.

Keywords

Citation

Cudworth, D. (2019), "“It’s a bit of freedom away from home and cleaning all the time”: Schooling, gender relations and Gypsy communities in England", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 5/6, pp. 464-477. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-01-2019-0020

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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