chapter  5
Learning
‘Let us out . . . !’
Pages 5

Schools are key forces in the reproduction of inequalities in society as they perform their function of sifting and selecting, awarding and failing. Learning becomes limited to a pre-selected and served up curriculum (Apple, 1995). Children and young people in school today are more likely than ever to recognise these processes that touch their lives everyday. More than the school pupils who contributed their ideas on learning to the first competition, they are subject to a regulated and statutory curriculum which limits the possibilities for flexibility in classroom practice. The 1988 Education Reform Act in England and Wales, in generating an educational market place and imposing a curriculum, has strengthened the subordinate position of pupils in schools (Wyness, 2000). In spite of the rhetoric of inclusion, which argues that children and young people share a right to a common educational environment in which all are valued equally, the principles of marketisation work against such being achieved (Armstrong, 1999: 76). The commentary offered by children and young people in the ‘School I’d Like’, 2001 collection, reflects a concern that learning is becoming increasingly limited in schools today by administrative and social structures.