Not all jolly hockey sticks: can school stories of the past help us make decisions for our children's future?

23 Oct 2017
Four vintage books

An inaugural lecture at the University of Winchester focuses on how 'school stories', both real and fictional, are a valid resource in the field of History of Education and within our wider society.

Stephanie Spencer, professor of History and Women's Education, draws on her unique research to develop our understanding of education in the post-war period in her lecture titled School Stories: The Histories of Education.

Most of us, when asked, can come up with a 'school story' from our time in education and many people will recognise it as a familiar genre of fiction, especially in the 1950s and 1960s. However, few have an idea of the important messages they contain. "School stories are really about friendship," says Professor Spencer. "They're about developing relationships, about learning who's a true friend and who's not."

Professor Spencer argues in her lecture that these books are valuable examples of how friendships are formed, and how important friendship groups are to school children. She discusses whether we should use these books as valid resources when making decisions that will affect the social and psychological wellbeing of our children.

Professor Spencer has been the Head of the Department for Education Studies and Liberal Arts at the University of Winchester for seven years and she also convenes the Centre for the History of Women's Education. Her current research allows her to collaborate with Nancy Rosoff of Arcadia University on a project on UK and US girls' school stories between 1910 and 1960.

Inaugural lectures, given by newly appointed professors, provides a platform to share their current and future research with academic colleagues, University staff and students, and members of the wider community.

School Stories: Histories of Education takes place at 6.30pm on Thursday 9 November in The Stripe, King Alfred Campus, University of Winchester, Sparkford Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 4NR. Attendance is free but booking is essential.

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