[AQA] Unit 2 Sociology - Education: The Reform Act 1988

Details on the Education Reform Act 1988

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The Educational Reform Act 1988 Jason Tran
By early 1980s, vast majority of children were schooled in a Aims of the Act:
comprehensive. Ensure education matches economic needs ­ new policies made under New
Vocationalism = introduced work-experience and new qualifications (NVQs &
Keneth Baker (Education Minister for Thatcher's Government) formed GNVQs)
this Education Act. Raise standards in education system by applying "free market principles".
It is strongly influenced by New
Right thought with an emphasis on Marketisation
the notion of the "free market". In a business context, competition between firms = encourages quality and value for
money. Education is the same.
Schools allocated money on the number of students attracted = drive up standards.
On the theme of parental choice, the government established different Meant that schools = service providers; parents & children = customers
types of schools:
Grant-Maintained Schools ­ Schools that have opted out of LEA Good schools = attract more students = more funding = grow and expand
control (with sufficient votes). School can then manage their Failing schools = forced to improve or shut down
spending better, have power over curriculum, employment of
staff and freedom over purchase of goods and services. Schools Emphasis on "parent power" ­ parents choose what schools they want to go to.
also could choose to specialise in particular subjects
City Technology Colleges (CTCs) ­ Set up with a combination of
government funds and money provided by business and
industry. Specialised in Maths, Science/Tech. Aim to provide How to distinguish between schools and see which
high skilled technical workforce schools are succeeding or failing:
SATs (Standard Assessment Tasks) ­ taken at 7 and 11
Assisted Places Scheme ­ If a parent wanted to send their child Tested English, Maths & Science
to private school, they would apply for a grant to cover some of League Tables ­ Published GCSEs/A-Levels
the fees OFSTED Inspection results ­ reports published

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The Educational Reform Act 1988 #2
Problems with Marketisation Parentocracy
Favours middle-class families over working-class families Miriam David (1993) describes marketisation as creating a `parentocracy'
Competition between schools affects quality of teachers attracted Gewirtz argues that middle-class parents have more economic and cultural capital =
(Good teachers attracted = good education delivered = drives up take advantage of choices available.…read more


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