The government has attempted to reduce the material disadvantages faced by working class pupils through positive discrimination (treating certain groups ore favourable than others to help overcome disadvantages). The government have done this through introducing compensatory education) making more resources available in schools in poorer areas- to compensate for deprivation), examples of Labour policies include:
Education Action Zones introduced in the late 1990. It aimed to raise standards by compensating for deprivation. Extra funding for schools in deprived areas.
Excellence in Cities aimed to improve the education of children in inner-cities through a number of measures such as better resources, learning mentors for students who have a high possibility of being excluded and resources for Gifted and Talented pupils.
EMA has two aims. It is to prevent students from having to work part-time to support their studies, and to support parents so that they don’t have to pay for their child’s travel, equipment and food costs while they are still studying.
Criticisms of Compensatory Education
Journalist, Melanie Phillips, argues that working class educational underachievement is a result of teachers being too willing to blame poverty for underachievement when the real reason is poor parenting and poor teaching. She also argues that the ‘socially excluded’ pupils are not simply poor, but they come from families who have attitudes and values which are anti-education and a state system that encourages welfare dependency and undermines individual responsibility.
New Right, Murray, argues that the increase in children’s rights has led to parents taking less responsibility for the parenting process and pupils taking less responsibility for them, furthering educational underachievement.