An exploration of parental choice of school by rural and remote parents


McCarthy, Michael. (2013). An exploration of parental choice of school by rural and remote parents [Thesis].
AuthorsMcCarthy, Michael
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The parental choice of school process is a complex undertaking for parents. This complexity is evident when considered from the nuanced perspective of school choice by Indigenous and non-Indigenous parents living in rural and remote areas. The social and geographic contexts of these parents give rise to unique challenges which shape the ways in which they choose a boarding for their children. The parental choice of school process consists of psychical constructions and processes which help parents define their understandings of 'good' schools and with which they engage in the boarding school choice process. The purpose of this research is to explore the ways in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous parents select a boarding school for their children. This will illuminate the reasons for changing enrolment patterns at a Catholic boarding school in north-west Queensland. The following research questions emerged from a synthesis of the literature. These research questions framed the research process: How does rurality/remoteness influence parental choice of boarding school? How do parents living in rural and remote areas inform their choice of boarding school for their child? How does school culture influence rural and remote parents' boarding school choice? How does race influence the boarding school choice process for rural and remote parents? Given that this study focuses on the ways in which parents engage with the boarding school choice process, an interpretive approach has been adopted. A constructionist epistemology underpins the study, and symbolic interactionism and Indigenous methodology are the theoretical perspectives. The methodology for this research is case study. Data were collected from a total of 36 participants (Indigenous/Non-Indigenous parents living in rural and remote locations; Principals of the research site school; Indigenous Support Personnel at the system level) using focus groups and one-on-one semi-structured interviews.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Final version
Publication dates01 Jan 2013
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