Smyth, John and Hattam, Robert (2002) Early school leaving and the cultural geography of high schools. British Educational Research Journal, 28 (3). pp. 375-397. ISSN 0141-1926

Early school leaving is one of the most protracted educational problems around the world, but one of the least understood. Central to the issue itself, is the failure by the educational policy community to have ways of adequately 'naming' the problem. The study reported in this paper examines early school leaving from the position of 209 young Australians who had left school or who were at imminent risk of doing so. While acknowledging the considerable complexity of the decision making processes that lie behind this problem, this article provides a tentative theorising that traverses aspects of what we call the 'cultural geography of the high school' as a partial explanation of what is occurring. The question being pursued was how the culture of the school contributed to or interfered with early school leaving.

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