This article suggests an explanation for the complex history of the relationship between the government high school and the Australian middle class. The main elements in the constructing of a framework necessarily include the following inter‐related effects: the historic alienation of the Roman Catholic population from the Australian public school system, federal government interventions into school policy and funding, demographic pressures, the rise of neoliberalism, and the development of distinctive and multiple ethnic populations in the cities. The final section of the article takes as its case study, the history of middle class schooling in the city of Sydney, especially from the mid 1970s to the end of the century. Sydney is an atypical Australian city in many respects, and the study of its middle class and schooling does not stand as representative of the Australian experience. Nevertheless, its great population and significance in the national economy makes its story a crucial story in the national context. Because much of the evidence for this last section derives from the Australian census, it is introduced by a brief discussion of census‐making. Preceding that section of the article is a summary discussion of the significance of social classes in the history of Australian schooling.
History of Education Review – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 14, 2007
Keywords: Class; School; Secondary education; Australia
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