Well … especially with the first child, I think … you feel that all the decisions you've ever made about your child's … education … way of life.. and all the rest of it, are on the line … and that … if the child then doesn't get into the sort of school … you feel they could cope with, you would be asking yourself what you've done wrong … so I felt it was a time when our whole parenting was under scrutiny and we would either be vindicated or not … so that's what I mean and also … there was definitely a feeling that … this step, although not … this step into secondary education, it wouldn't be irrevocable, but it would be … that's really got to be it, and a very very big influence on what they do in the rest of their life … and that it would be … a big step to get wrong … so you had to put a lot of your attention into the … into each school and approach each school as if your child was definitely going to go there, and … size it up, assess your own reactions to it and all the rest of it.
In this last brief chapter I have three main concerns. First, I will consider what the discussion and analyses in the foregoing chapters have to contribute to our understanding of class and inequality in relation to what Tomlinson (2001) calls 'education in a post welfare society'. Second, I will consider what the discussion and analyses in the foregoing chapters have to contribute to current debates about social class, class theory and in particular our understanding of the middle class in contemporary society. I think it is very evident from the material discussed in this monograph that class has not gone away. However, the task and the challenge are to understand the new forms that it takes. 1 Third, I offer some comments about the relationship between the public morality of the state and the private principles of parents. Generally, in the course of this closing discussion I will revisit the themes of ambivalence, boundary, fear and uncertainty, individualism and reflexivity. Mrs Cornwell (above) provides the touchstone for the closing discussion.
The main thrust of the argument running through the previous chapters is that choice policies, or post-welfare education policies, offer a social and political context, and produce social fields or social spaces, in which the middle class feel both at home and at risk, comfortable but uncertain. The