Edgelands schools and pupils -- do we view them too negatively?

Francis Gilbert's picture
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I am reading a great book about modern Britain, Edgelands -- Journeys Into England's True Wilderness after listening to a fascinating Radio 4 programme about it.. The authors, Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, have travelled around the UK's forgotten "edgelands"; the neglected fringes of cities and towns where there are rubbish dumps, business parks, building sites, sewage plants, landfill sites, roadside verges, power plants, mines, carparks, airports and piers. Edgelands questions what we find beautiful or not, showing that poets like Wordsworth changed our perceptions of nature, which before had been viewed in much the same way as we now view "edgelands".

It got me thinking about "edgeland" schools; schools which have been neglected, left at the fringes, marginalised, and are often situated in precisely the places that Farley and Roberts discuss in the book. This book seems to suggest that rather than "prettifying" our edgelands, we should change our perceptions of them and value their haunting presences. The book doesn't look at schools, but it begs the question: are we not valuing our "edgeland" schools and pupils as well?
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