The study explores the role of complementary schools in pupils’ constructions of social and educational identities, in the context of debates on social identity and achievement. Research has documented how educational achievement varies according to factors such as ethnicity, gender and social class. Our previous research with British-Chinese pupils found that parents and pupils stressed the contribution of Chinese complementary schools in relation to educational progress and transmission of language.

The study focuses on Chinese schools because British-Chinese pupils tend to high levels of achievement in compulsory schooling and our previous study found that both parents and pupils highlighted the significance of complementary schools for promoting this achievement. Moreover, very little is written about Chinese complementary schooling. The study will document the population and practices of a sample of 6 schools. It will explore complementary school pupils’, parents’ and teachers’ perceptions of complementary schooling, and pupils’ experiences of it. Methods include classroom observations and interviews with 60 pupils, 24 parents, and 12-20 teachers across the various schools. Individual interviews with pupils will examine the impact of complementary schooling on pupils’ learning and social identities, attending to issues of ethnicity, gender, social class and achievement.

Start date
31 May 2006
End date
31 January 2008
Grant holder
Professor Becky Francis
Professor Louise Archer
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