Article Title

Managing school choice


Issues of school choice have become prominent in public discussion, particularly in the last decade since limits on the establishment of new schools were reduced by the Federal Government with a resultant increase in possible choices for families. Alongside issues of choice are the issues that arise when a change of school choice is necessary. This paper describes the political context of school choice and the results of research into school choice that produced a theoretical model through the use of grounded theory method, a qualitative methodology.

Through the grounded theory method a substantive theory was developed that explained the process through which a family makes choices about schooling for their children. The theoretical model is comprised of two phases: phase one models the process that parents engage in to determine their choice of school for a child, and phase two models the management of that choice and the process that they engage in where there are challenges to the original choice. This paper presents the second phase of the grounded theory model, Managing School Choice.

Purposive and theoretical sampling were used to engage the parental informant group that included parents of children in the government sector as well as in nongovernment schools of varying kinds. The data were primarily obtained through formal interviews. The second phase described in this paper shows how families managed the choices that they made and this management involved two stages. The result of their management determined whether they would change their choice of school or engage what was necessary to maintain their original choice. If the choice was to change they returned to the first phase to make a further choice.


Peer-reviewed, Grounded theory method, school choices, Western Australia

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