Education - Policies

  • Created by: a66y_xx
  • Created on: 18-03-21 15:47



Economic Efficiency -> develop the skills of the young to improve the labour force. This involves making the education system meet the needs of industry and employers. 

Raising Educational Standards -> UK education needs to compete in a global education market and is ranked against other countries - e.g. PISA.

Creating Equality of Educational Opportunity -> ensuring that all students get the best educational opportunities.

1 of 16

Aspects of Educational Equality


Equality of Access -> every child should have the same opportunities to access educational provision of similar quality, regardless of socio-economic background.

Equality of Circumstance -> children should all start school with a similar socio-economic background so that they are all truly equal.

Equality of Participation -> all students have the chance to participate on an equal footing in the processes that make up school life.

Equality of Outcome -> all students have the same chances of achievement in education, regardless of socio-economic background.

2 of 16

Policies Which Increased Equality

1988 Reform Act - National Curriculum - all schools has to teach the same core curriculum. However, not suitable for all - suits 'academic' pupil more.

1965 - Comprehensivisation Act - got rid of the 11+ exam and made it so all students would get 'parity of esteem' & 'equality' within education. However, comprehensives are large schools so lack individual attention.

Schools Admissions Code - forbids discrimination in admitting pupils on grounds of socio-economic background or ability. However, covert selection still takes place by both school and parents - postcode lottery.

Policies that improve inequality in circumstances - pupil premium = additional funding for those students from a poor socio-economic background - compensatory education. However, Kerr & West - too many other factors outside of school that impact achievement.

3 of 16


  • Selection by Ability - entrance tests
  • Selection by Aptitude - talents
  • Selection by Faith


  • Allows 'high-flyers' to benefit
  • Specialised & focused teaching can take place


  • Late developers don't benefit
  • Mixed ability fosters social cohesion
  • Reduced risk of labelling and therefore SFP
  • HA can act as a inspiration to other students
4 of 16

Admissions Policies

Open Enrolment Policies & Parental Choice

OEP means that parents can apply to any state school, in any area. If the school is under subscribed they must take the child. However, over-subscribed school fill up quickly so many parents don't get their 1st choice.

Over Subscription Policies

Priority to: children in care, pupil premium, siblings, catchment area (closes first), faith.

Covert Selection

Tough & Brooks - backdoor social selection to 'cherry pick' students. Discouraging parents of poorer students from applying in the first place through high uniform prices, making literature hard to understand, not advertising in poorer areas. Faith schools require a letter from a spiritual leader to gain insight to the potential students family and commitment to both the faith and the school ethos.

5 of 16

Marketisation - Key Terms

Marketisation -> means the process of whereby services like education are pushed towards operating like a business and based on supply and demand. Students are considered consumers rather than pupils.

Privatisation in education -> means changing the internal processes of a school to be more like a business, for example treating parents & students like consumers, target setting, performance related pay and league tables.

Privatisation of education -> means opening up aspects of education to private businesses such as staff training, school finances, school management (academy chains) and exams.

Parentocracy -> means when a child's educational achievement has more to do with parental wealth and wishes than student ability. Parents are able to have more choice over where to send their children.

6 of 16

Features of Marketisation

Idependence -> allowing schools to run themselves how they see fit.

Competition -> making schools compete with each other for students.

Choice -> giving customers (parents & children) more choice in where they go to school.

7 of 16

Elements of Quality Control

Ofsted inspections.

Publication of performance tables such as examination results.

National curriculum - baseline for what is taught.

8 of 16

Evaluation of Privatisation of Education


  • More efficient
  • More choice for parents
  • Profit making might induce companies to support failing schools


  • Takes money from the education system
  • If businesses go out of business it will leave schools stranded
  • Less equality 
9 of 16

Policies Which Promote Marketisation

Conservative Gov (1979-1997)

  • League tables
  • Local management of schools
  • Open enrolment

Labour Gov (1997-2010)

  • Business sponsored academies
  • Specialist schools

Coalition Gov (2010-2015)

  • New style academies
  • Free schools
10 of 16

Policies Which Promote Raising Standards

Conservative Gov (1979-1997)

  • Ofsted
  • National Curriculum
  • National Testing

Labour Gov (1997-2010)

  • Maximum class sizes for 5-7 yr old
  • Building schools for the future programme
  • Education action zones
  • Business sponsored academies

Coalition Gov (2010-2015)

  • Pupil premium
  • English Baccalaureate
  • Reform of the national curriculum
  • Reform of the exam system
  • Tougher preformance targets for schools
11 of 16


Myth of parentocracy -> parents do not have equal freedom to choose the schools which their child attends due to covert selection process, postcode lotteries in catchment areas. Middle class parents have much more freedom in choice due to their cultural capital, higher education and income.

Educational triage -> teachers tend to allocate more resources to the students who are on the C/D boarder line in order to achieve the 5 A*-C needed for the league tables, thus ignoring those who are unlikely to achieve this.

Dumbing Down -> due to the funding formula, schools need to retain and attract students in order to receive funding. Schools will therefore lead to the dumbing down of teaching and standards in order to retain students who might leave if they are pushed too hard or if the courses are too difficult.

12 of 16

Types of Private Education

Private Schools = fee paying schools which do not have to follow government policies or be inspected by Ofsted.

Public Schools = fee paying schools which require an entrance exam such as the CEE. They have a long history and include schools such as Eton.

Independent Schools = fee paying and also rely on charitable donations and gifts. They tend to have charitable status and do not have to follow government policy.

International Schools = schools which promote international education and have students from multiple nationalities. Many follow the international baccalaureate curriculum. They are non-selective.

13 of 16

Why Private School?

Smaller class sizes

Better facilities

Better chances to get into a top university, e.g. Oxbridge

High academic standards due to entrance exams

Higher teacher salaries which attract better qualified and more experienced teachers

14 of 16

Arguments Against Non-State Education

Increases social inequality

Maintains the 'old boys' network

Maintains capitalism (Marxists) due to giving tax breaks to parents as schools are seen as charitable trusts

No evidence to suggest that quality of teaching is better in private schools

15 of 16

Old Boys Network Cycle

Wealthy Family


High cost public school education


Oxbridge or other top university


Highly paid job - elite positions


Marriage to other wealthy, powerful and influential people


16 of 16


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Education resources »