Education: Class differences in achievement (external factors)

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Cultural Deprivation

  • This is when we aquire basic values, views and skills for success in education by the primary socialisation of the family.
  • Cultural equipment is basics like language, self-discipline etc.
  • Some theorist say W.Class families fail to socialise children. lacking the cultural equipment for success at school. 
  • This = cultural deprivation, aspects include language, parents's education and W.Class subculture.


  • The way parents speak to child influences their development.
  • E.g. when parents made child question themselves on understanding saying 'What do you think?' the child's intellect improved.
  • But educated parents most likely use this.
  • Less educated made child describe  saying 'What's this animal called?
  • Also language used in lower-class homes is deficient.
  • This affects child as they lack a head start before school.
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Cultural Deprivation

  • Speech codes is also how language between W.Class and M.Class difference affect achievement.
    • The Restricted Code - Working class use limited vocabulary and use short simple sentences. Speech involves gesture and single word predictable answers. It's describing, not analysing. 
    • The Elaborated Code - Middle class use wide vocabulary and complex sentences. This is more analyitc than describing. 
  • This gives middle class an advantage in school as the Elaborated code is used by teachers.
  • If children are brought up with this then school may feel like home.


  • How Parents see education affects child.
  • E.g. Study found W.Class families less valued education and therefore gave less encouragement.
  • Didn't discuss child progress with teachers, gave child less motivation.
  • Middle Class are better educated and know how to socialise children.
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Cultural Deprivation

  • How Parent's style matters
    • Educated parent's emphasise constitant discipline and high expectations which encourages active learning
    • Less educated parent's style is more harsh and inconsistant discipline like doing as your told prevents child from learning independence which leads to poor motivation.
  • How Parent's See education
    • Educated parents are aware on how to help child's educational progress.
    • They help with reading, teaching letters and numbers and helping with homework.
    • These parents have good relations with the school.
  • How Parents use Income.
    • Educated parents spend money in way that boost educational success.
    • E.g. Middle-Class mothers bought educational toys and books.
    • Nutrition is also provided for.
    • W.Class lack these resources.
  • Class
    • Many aren't equally successful.
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Cultural Deprivation


  • Lack of parental interest in child's education shows the subculture values of W.Class.
  • Subculture = a group who's views and goals are different than the main.
  • W.Class have different goals which is why their children fail.
  • Barry Sugarman says subculture has 4 values that stop educational success.
  • Fatalism - Fate decides your status and you can't change it.
  • Collectivism - Being part of a group, not individuality.
  • Immediate Gratification - Want rewards now rather than sacrificing and patience.
  • Present-time orientation - Present is more important than the future and making short term goals.
  • These values exist because Middle Class jobs are more secure for prospects with more achievement but W.Class jobs are less secure with few promotion opportunities.
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Cultural Deprivation


  • These are programmes that help tackle the Cultural Deprivation problem.
  • They try to provide extra resources and interfere early in the socialisation process.
  • E.g. Operation Head Start in the USA and Sure Start, Education Action Zone in UK.
  • Sesame Street was apart of head start which sharedvalues, improved skills etc.


  • Is Child's Social background irrelevant?
  • Some say that W.Class children aren't culturally deprived but different.
  • W.Class fail as education suits the Middle Class.
  • Schools should challenge teachers of the prejudice.
  • Child's language isn't the problem but Schools attitude who have a speech hierarchy. Middle Class speech highest, then W.Class, then Black Speech.
  • Some say it's not that W.Class don't take interest but they don't have time, e.g. Parent's evening.
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Material Deprivation

  • Cultural Deprivation is about W.Class, beliefs/culture and Subculture.
  • Material Deprivation is about Poverty, lack of material that's vital e.g. Income and housing.
  • E.g. Poverty links to underachievement in Education.
    • Department of Education said a 3rd of people on Free school meals will barely get 5+ GCSEs.
    • Family problems affect attendance.
    • Majority of failing schools are in poor areas.


  • Poor housing affects child.
  • If overcrowded, child can't study, do homewrok, sleep.
  • Families in temporary housing may keep moving which is unstable.
  • Poor housing also affects health and welfare.
  • Cold/damp housing leads to illness, temporary housing leads to stress, health problems affect attendance.
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Material Deprivation


  • Child is poverty has lack of energy, vitimins and minerals.
  • Lack of nutrition causes illness, causing absence and difficulty paying attention in school.
  • May have behaviour problems like hyperactivity and anxiety which affects education.
  • Low income families have more fighting and tantrums which affects child's schooling.


  • Poor children lack educational equipment.
  • The Cost of Free Schooling is that things like transport, books, computers and uniforms are costly to poor families.
  • Many children then borrow or aren't up to date where they may be bullied.
  • E.g. 20% of those on Free school meals get teased and therefore abandon their entitlement.
  • Lack of money may mean the children also need to work.
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Material Deprivation


  • Going to University results in fear of debt which deters W.Class students.
  • A study by Nationwd showed how W.Class students saw debt to be avoided and looked at University via it's costs, not benefits.
  • Increased tuition fees after 2012 may deter more W.Class.
  • If W.Class do go to University they lack financial support from families.
  • Only 30% of W.Class go to University.
  • Financial factors affect University too.
  • Many W.Class may apply to local universities in order to live at home and save travel costs.
  • This stops them from going to high-end unversities, e.g. 17% in London Met.


  • Only some poor families have children who do succeed which means material deprivation gives half the answer.
  • Some say tackling child poverty may boost achievement.
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Cultural Capital:

  • Bourdieu uses this to describe language, views, values and skills of Middle Class.
  • Middle class culture is a captial as it benefits them at school
  • Because of this, Middle class children can analyse and express ideas, developing intellect.
  • Middle Class children know what to do to succeed at school.
  • Their interests are rewarded with qualifications as education favors middle class culture.
  • But W.Class children think school devalue their culture.
  • They lack cultural capital and therefore fail.


  • All 3 capitals can be converted into 1.
  • E.g. Cultural capital allows better preparation for school demands and get qualifications.
  • Wealthy can covert economic capital into educational capital by sending children to private school and paying for extra tuition.
  • Houses near school high in league tables cost a lot, excluded W.Class families.
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