School educational project as a criterion of school choice: discourses and practices in the city of Barcelona

Ricard Benito, Miquel Àngel Alegre, Isaac Gonzàlez

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14 Citations (Scopus)


In its advancement towards an education quasi-market, Catalonia has recently been driving the development of school educational projects in all schools (both public and private) as a tool to facilitate school autonomy and family choices. A school educational project is a formal document in which schools identify their pedagogical goals, missions and orientations, their academic resources and organisational structures. Through the analysis of 60 in-depth interviews with parents of children at the age of commencing universal pre-primary education (three years old) and data collected from surveys completed by a representative sample made up of 3245 families, this article explores the impact of this policy on discourses and practices of school choice amongst families in the city of Barcelona. On the one hand, we observe that interest in educational projects has penetrated the discourses of the most educated parents, even though, at the same time, we detect a generalised lack of knowledge of the content of such projects. On the other hand, we note that the social composition of schools is still a prominent factor in choice practices. Such findings question the ideal of the autonomous and rational citizen-consumer that underlies the policy of establishing educational projects. © 2013 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-420
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • critical policy analysis
  • parental education
  • quasi-markets
  • school autonomy
  • school choice
  • school educational projects


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