First published in 1997, this study examines the trend towards markets in UK schools, with a particular focus on fee-paying schools in South Wales, by outlining the varied economic and political arguments both for and against increased parental choice and exploring parents’ real reasons for using fee-paying schools. Stephen Gorard destroys the cosy myth that fee-paying schools are large, successful, charitable institutions catering chiefly for a select group of privileged families. Instead, he reveals them as typically privately owned, coeducational and with fewer than a hundred pupils, based in a poorly-converted residential site with few facilities. It is the first book which allows children’s voices to be heard fully in the context of debates on the choice of a new school. Gorard has gathered the voices of parents and children via observation, interview and survey, comparing them directly and revealing stark differences in the perception of each generation.

part One|2 pages

Introducing the Research

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|18 pages

Markets in education

chapter 2|30 pages

The prevailing evidence

chapter 3|20 pages

The need for a fresh approach

chapter 4|20 pages

The sampling frame

part Two|2 pages

Researching the Established Market

chapter 5|28 pages

Outline methodology

chapter 6|20 pages

The schools and their users

chapter 7|28 pages

The choice criteria

part Three|2 pages

The Process of Choice

chapter 8|14 pages

Family influences on choice

chapter 9|26 pages

The three step model

chapter 10|26 pages

What are they paying for?

part Four|2 pages

Whither Market Forces in Education?

chapter 11|10 pages

Conclusions and implications