Spaces of Exclusion: The Schooling experiences of Gypsy/Traveller children in England




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Peer reviewed


The ‘representational space’ of teachers and children in schools’ has ‘changed beyond all recognition’ (Turner-Bisset, 2007:193). Drawing on the idea that the school is a socio-spatial landscape and ‘one of the most significant’ institutional spaces children engage (Foley & Leverett, 2011:29), we can understand forms of educational inequality as a consequence of spatial production. This paper contributes to the emerging literature, which suggests that the spatial dimension of education is increasingly important in analysing the re/production of individual identities and social inequalities. By putting space at the centre of this paper provides a further tool in which to analyse the possibilities for change in terms of educational social justice for all children. Using spatial theory (particularly that of Lefebvre (1991) and Soja (1989, 1996)) this paper examines the overlapping relationships of spatial production including: spatial practices of teaching and learning; representational space in terms of policy discourse, and finally, spatial representations in terms of the daily experiences of school life. The particular emphasis of this paper is to examine the stories of people’s schooling experiences in order to investigate how schools shape, have shaped, and are shaped by the ‘structures’ and ‘landscapes’ of the education process as well as the social practices and interactions of participants. With a particular focus on Gypsy/Traveller experiences of school, this paper examines the particular situation of children from these communities and their unique relationship with the schooling system and education more widely.



Gypsy/Travellers, culture, schooling, marketisation


Cudworth, D. (2016) •Spaces of Exclusion: The schooling experiences of Gypsy/Traveller children in England. American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Conference in San Francisco, March 29th-April 2nd 2016.


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice