How do multicultural children and their parents experience the very beginning of their school careers?

How do teachers mediate the demands of the educational system, and how do the children adapt?

What kind of access to the National Curriculum is offered to multicultural children?

Originally published in 1999, the authors answer these questions by drawing on two years’ intensive research in three multi-ethnic institutions. They explore teachers’ values and beliefs and how they attempt to put them into practice. They describe how, at times, teachers were constrained to get things done because of pressures operating on them, but at other times, taught creatively in a way particularly relevant to the children’s concerns and cultures.

The authors studied the children’s experiences on their transition into school, and argue that they were inducted into not only a general pupil role, but also one based on an anglicised model of pupil. Opportunities for learning which children found most meaningful came notably from free play, but these became gradually more limited as they engaged with the National Curriculum. These young children were forming complex identities as they sought to respond to the varying influences operating them. Their parents saw a cultural divide opening up between home and school. Many suggestions for practice and policy are made in the course of the book and are still relevant today.

chapter |12 pages


chapter Chapter 1|20 pages

Teachers’ Perspectives

chapter Chapter 2|32 pages

Teaching the National Curriculum

chapter Chapter 3|24 pages

Creative Teaching

chapter Chapter 4|28 pages

The Educational Significance of Stories

chapter Chapter 5|19 pages

Bilingual Children in Transition

chapter Chapter 6|21 pages

Opportunities for Learning

chapter Chapter 7|28 pages

Children’s Identities

chapter Chapter 8|25 pages

The Parents’ Perspectives