Class Differences in Education Revision Cards AS Sociology (External Factors)

Class Differences in Education Revision Cards AS Sociology AQA External Factors

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  • Created by: Pheebie
  • Created on: 16-02-12 12:45

Explaining Class Differences

  • Internal and External Factors.
  • Cultural Deprivation.
  • Material Deprivation.
  • Cultural Capital.


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Cultural Deprivation- Intellectual Deprivation

Douglas (1964) 

Working class pupils scored lower on tests of ability because working class parents are less likely to support their children's intellectual needs e.g. development through reading or other educational activities. 

Bernstein & Young (1967)

Middle class mothers are more likely to buy toys that encourage thinking and reasoning skills to prepare children for school. 


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Cultural Deprivation- Language

Bereiter & Englemann (1967)

Language used in lower class families is often disjointed, single words and gestures. As a result children fail to develop the necessary language skills for school. Therefore they are unlikely to take advantage opportunities school offers.  

Bernstein (1975) Restricted and Elaborate Code

The restricted code is that typically used by the working class. Use of short, unfinished, grammatically simple sentences.

The elaborate code is that used by the middle classes with grammatically more complex sentences and a wider vocabulary.

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Cultural Deprivation- Attitudes and Values

Douglas  (1964)

Working class parents place less value on education.

Fernstein (1998)

Working class parents' lack of interest was due to problems such as financial hardship or factors with in school. Whilst middle-class children are more successful because there parents provide them more necessary motivation, support and discipline. 

Herbert Hyman (1967)

Lower class subcultures are a self-imposed barrier to educational and career success. Working class pupils see little advancement and place little value on education. They neither want success or know how to get it. 

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Cultural Deprivation- Attitudes and Values 2

Sugarman (1920) 

Fatalism- An attitude stating "whatever will be, will be" There is nothing you can do to change your status. 

Collectivism-  Valuing being part of a group rather than succeeding as an individual.

Immediate gratification-  Seeking pleasure now rather than sacrificing for future rewards. 

Present-time Orientation- Seeing present as more important than the future .

These are values held by the working classes.

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Cultural Deprivation- Compensatory Education

Operation Head Start- US multi-billion dollar scheme in 1960s were government put money into deprived areas to improve home life and educational standards. 

Education Action Zones (EAZs) UK (1990s)

Sure Start Nurseries- UK 2000 Aimed at improving parent- nursery relationships and improving children's health 


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Cultural Deprivation- Myth of Cultural Deprivation

Keddie (1973)

Working class children are culturally diverse NOT different- and schools do not compensate for this.

Tronya & Williams (1986)

A child's language is not a problem but the schools attitude towards it. Teachers have a "speech hierarchy" where middle class is highest, then working class speech, then black speech. 

Blackstone & Mortimer (1994)

Working class parents don't attend parents evenings because of the middle-class atmosphere schools give and they lack knowledge to help their child. 

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Material Deprivation

  • Flaherty (2004)-Money problems in a family were a significant factor in a non-attendance at school.
  • Nearly 90% of failing schools are located in deprived area. 
  • Exclusion and truanting are more likely to be problems with children from poorer families. 
  • 33% of children on free school meals got 5A*-C GCSEs compared to 61% of pupils who did not receive free school meals in 2006.


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Material Deprivation Housing

  • Both directly and Indirectly effects pupils.
  • Development impaired due to lack of safe play and exploration.
  • Over crowing and nowhere to do home work.  
  • More frequent time off school and disrupted education.
  • Families in temporary education suffer more distress, infections and accidents. Meaning more absences from school.


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Material Deprivation- Diet and Health

Howard (2001)

Children from poorer homes have lower intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Lowering immune system and energy levels.

Wilkinson (1996)

Among 10yr olds the lower the social class, the higher the rate of hyperactivity, anxiety and conduct disorders having a negative effect of the child's education.  


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Material Deprivation- Financial Support & Cost of

Bull (1980) 

Free schooling still costs- they miss out on opportunities to enhance there educational achievement.

Emily Tanner (2003)

Cost of transport, uniforms, books,  computers, calculators, sports, music and art equipment places a heavy burden on poor families. 

Tess Ridge (2002) 

Children are upset when they cant afford things. 20% of those eligible for free school meals do not take them due to the stigma attached to them. 

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Cultural or Material Factors?

Mortimore & Whitty (1997)

Material inequality have a greater impact on achievement than school factors.

Robinson (1997)

Tackling child poverty would be a cost effective way to boost achievement. 


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Cultural Capital- Education & Economic Capital

Bourdieu (1984)

Middle class culture gives advantage to middle-class children in school. The education system favours the transmission of middle class culture. Where working class culture is seen as rough and inferior leading to exam failure.

Sullivan (2001) 

Those who watched more TV documentaries develop a wider vocabulary and knowledge and therefore are more likely to do better at there GCSEs. 


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Cultural Deprivation- Marketisation & Parental Cho

Gerwitz (1995)

Privileged- skilled choosers:- middle class parents used there economic and cultural capital for there children. Knew how to work school system and importance of education and deadlines.

Disconnected- local choosers:- working class parents whose choices were restricted by lack of economic and cultural capital.

Semi-skilled choosers:- Working class and had ambitions for there child but had lack of economic or cultural capital to help them get into the school of their choice

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