This article reports findings from two studies, both of which used resistance theory to explain students' response to education. One study focused on an inner-city primary school characterised by high student opposition to both teachers and schooling. The other study examined how students, previously considered failures in mainstream education, responded to a 'second chance' programme aimed at providing access to tertiary education. Each study considered the relationship between students, teachers and the curriculum, and how this relationship was produced, negotiated and transformed within the everyday culture and language of the students. The first study identified conditions which led students to reach a decisive moment in their lives where a free, and arguably final, choice was made to reject school and education more generally. The second study identified factors in students' lives, both educational and personal, which led either to the educational access they desired or further frustration and failure. In reporting these findings, this paper will explore the theoretical and empirical common ground, and also the tension, between each study, thus offering a deeper understanding of student response to education along a broad educational continuum.

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