Elite independent schools in globalising circumstances: a multi-sited global Ethnography

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This is a study of elite independent schools in Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, India, Barbados, South Africa, England, Argentina, Cyprus, Israel, Poland - all with historical links to the ‘public’ school model of the British empire.

Because elite schools are often seen as the gold standard for school education, and because their alumni are often highly influential in economic, political and professional circles, understanding what they do and the ideals they stand for is important nationally and globally.

The project explored whether and how high status schools are changing as a result of global interconnections. It looked at such things as:

  • the impact of increased global flows of students, parents and alumni on such schools,
  • if and how the schools are altering their curriculum in relation to global labour markets,
  • how the students are imagining their place and purpose in the global world and how the school is helping to shape their imagination,
  • if and how future global as well as national leaders are being prepared,
  • the links the schools are developing with like-minded schools and universities around the world,
  • how the schools unify tradition and innovation.


  • Prof Jane Kenway - Monash University (Australian Professorial Fellow)
  • Professor Fazal Rizvi - Melbourne University
  • Associate Professor Aaron Koh - The Hong Kong Institute of Education
  • Professor Debbie Epstein - Cardiff University
  • Professor Cameron McCarthy - University of Illinois