ABSTRACT

The first female sixth-formers within the formerly boys-only Headmasters’ Conference schools appeared at Marlborough College in 1968, and by 1980 over 100 of these establishments had girl pupils, at least in the upper forms. Currently many such schools are extending their welcome to girls of 13 and upwards so that more than half now have girls. In the 1960s, secondary schools were being reorganized into comprehensives and the Labour government was pushing for integration of public schools into the state system, in order to ‘bring about a socially mixed entry into the schools’. In 1988, the author spent a short period observing school life and talking to staff and pupils in a minor public school which she shall call St. Bee’s. After a preliminary visit to St. Bee’s to explain the nature of her research, the author decided to attend the annual House Music Competition.