Educational Policy- Comprehensive System

  • Created by: jocastle
  • Created on: 06-05-16 12:39

Educational Policy- Comprehensive System


  • All students of all abilities and backgrounds in together, giving everyone the same start and, unlike Tripartite which depended on the 11+, didn't give advantages too early
  • Larger schools are cheaper to run
  • Students brought in depending on catchment area, not on class, creating solidarity
  • There was no entrance exam for state schools, so none of the flaws the 11+ had with cultural/material deprivation and middle-class advantages were there


  • Catchment areas aren't free of class division- some areas are more affluent than others, which can lead to differences across schools
  • Middle-class parents have the financial ability to move around into more affluent areas, or areas where the schooling is said to be better; working-class parents can't do this and have no choice
  • Middle-class parents are also more likely to be 'privileged skilled choosers' with a knowledge of how to work the system to their advantage to get their children into the schools they want
  • Streaming introduced with comprehensive system can, however, reproduce class inequality with middle-class pupils in high streams and working-class children in low streams
  • Larger and more mixed classes mean teachers need to 'teach to the middle', meaning the most able are unable to be pushed and given aspiration to achieve higher and the least able aren't given the opportunity to go over things and improve their understanding first
  • Grammar schools still existed alongside comprehensive schools- bright working-class children couldn't rise to the grammar school standard


The comprehensive system perpetuated a 'myth of meritocracy' which further led to inequality in education.  Though on the surface mixed-class schools were a step in the direction of equality, middle-class students still had the financial advantage as they were able to choose better schools.  Ignoring ability as a factor in sorting students also leads to suffering achievement, particularly in bright working-class pupils, as the streaming system often had working-class pupils put in low streams and therefore entered for lower exam papers, harming aspiration and overall attainment. 




Great but slightly one sided. Plenty more advantages of the comp. system.