Negotiating second chance schooling in neoliberal times: Teacher work for schooling justice

  • Andrew Bills Flinders University
  • Jennifer Cook Mount Barker High School, South Australia
  • David Giles Flinders University
Keywords: School reform, teachers work, engagement of marginalised students


The purpose of this paper is to reflect upon our work as two insider teacher researchers using action research methodology with teacher colleagues, marginalised young people and community stakeholders to develop a sustainable and socially just senior secondary ‘second chance’ school for young people who had left schooling without credentials. Twelve years after our beginning developmental work, the Second Chance Community College (SCCC) continues with over 100 students enrolled in 2015. It has catered for over 1000 students since its development. Through pursuing critical forms of action research, enriched through active participation within a university led professional learning community, we became ‘radical pragmatic’ educators. This called us into collaborative, tactical and critical teacher work to navigate through constraining neoliberal logic with students and colleagues, reassembling our professional selves and radically changing the SCCC design from the design logics of conventional secondary schools. The research demonstrated that teachers can build a socially just school for marginalised young people and as a consequence make a significant difference to the lives of young people no longer involved in schooling. 


How to Cite
Bills, A., Cook, J., & Giles, D. (2015). Negotiating second chance schooling in neoliberal times: Teacher work for schooling justice. Teachers’ Work, 12(1), 78-95.