University of Hertfordshire

By the same authors

We Don't Need No Education? The Absence of Primary Education in The Archers

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCustart, Culverts And Cake: Academics on life in The Archers
EditorsCara Courage, Nicola Headlam
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-1-78743-286-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2017


The primary school in any rural village is a significant and vivid institution. Its classrooms, playground, buses, staffroom, governing body, PTA committee, religious celebrations, educational visits and community events are a focus not just for village pride but for parental and social aspirations and tensions. Village schools are special local spaces, in which the bite is keenly felt of national education policies. They are sources and sites of friendships, rivalries and divisions amongst both children and adults; places where celebrations and disappointments
occur on a daily basis; an important local employer and reliant on a range of committed volunteers. Village schools are genuinely lively and dramatic places. But not in The Archers. The mostly invisible children of
Ambridge simply board a bus to Loxley Barrett aged five, then mysteriously alight aged 11 at Borchester Green or the fee-paying Cathedral School. During those primary years Ambridge’s children, parents and listeners seem blissfully unaffected by tests, snow, bullying, crazes, curriculum change, poor teachers, brilliant teaching assistants,
academisation, Ofsted inspections, fussy governors, budget crises or any other rural educational reality. In this chapter we consider why primary education, a topic that dominates the lives and conversations of real village families from all backgrounds, seems to be of such insignificance to the inhabitants of Ambridge?


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