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Educational policy and inequality:
The tripartite and comprehensive system
Tripartite System Comprehensive System
When 1944 1965
To educate all to make best use of their talents. Introduced by the labour government.
Aims Britain needed a better educated workforce. Ensure all students no matter what their ability had a
All children entitled to a free `state-run' education similar education.
A 3 stage education system was created No entry examinations - schools serve their
(primary/secondary/further-higher education). catchment areas.
Introduction of a meritocratic system where children All students of all ability attend the same school.
received an education based upon their academic Both boys/girls attend the same school.
ability...rather than what they could afford to pay. Reflected catchment - locality
An exam at age 11 would determine which school you
attended (the 11+ examination).
The tripartite education system was created:
Secondary Secondary Grammar
General Practical Academic
education for education education for
non-academic more able (20%)
Different ability students get the support they need for One education for all fairness
their ability Brings together children from different social classes.
Pros Resources can be better targeted. No entrance exam all treated fairly.
Less able don't feel inferior and more able do not get Larger schools = cheaper to run.
held back. Serves its local catchment area.
Exposure to different `cultural traditions'.
80% students felt like `failures' at age 11. No choice for parents...children have to attend local
Most children develop after the age of 11. school.
Exam was biased in favour of `middle class' students. The most and least able suffer as teachers ` teach to
Cons Divided children from different backgrounds. the middle'.
Some children received a `second class' education. Bright working class children cannot rise to the
grammar school standard.
They `dumb down' the curriculum.
Setting divides children by ability.
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Marketisation and parentocracy
The 1988 Education Reform Act introduced by the Conservative government under Thatcher established the
principle of marketisation in education
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For example, LEECH AND CAMPOS show what middle class parents can afford to move into the catchment areas of
more desirable schools
New Labour polices since 1997
1. Reducing inequality:
Introduced several policies aimed specifically at reducing inequality in achievement by targeting support on
E.g. designating some deprived areas as Education Action Zones and providing them with additional