This PhD project studies new trends in the educational field, namely the establishment of 'alternative' forms of education by 'socially vulnerable' individuals and groups. These initiatives are taken with the specific aim to tackle difficulties experienced by vulnerable youth in mainstream education, such as discrimination and ongoing educational inequality. However, while these initiatives have sparked polarized reactions in public debate, our academic knowledge on these specific spaces of schooling remains scarce. This is an important gap in our understanding of these educational and societal processes, which we aim to address with this PhD project. To this end, this project applies a thorough qualitative-ethnographic methodology in a limited number of cases. Through observation of everyday interactions as well as conducting in-depth interviews with a variety of actors, it seeks to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms at play. Such a methodological and explorative research approach is desirable in order to do justice to the complexities in these settings.