Education Policy and Inequality

Most Education policys are of a response to the fo

  • Equal opputunities 
  • Selcetion and choice 
  • Control of Education 
  • Marketisation and privatisation 
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Education in Britain before 1988

Before 1833 the state spent NO money on education.

In the late 18th century/ early 19th there were no state schools, education was avaibe to minorities, it was provided by fee-paying schools or by churches and charites. 

Industrialisation increased the need for education workforce. from the late 19th century the state became more involved in education. the state made schooling compulsory for 5-13 year olds in 1880.

school didnt change the status the pupils were ascribed to. Middle class pupils were given academic curriculum to prepare for careers in the professions VS working class children were given basic numeracy and literacy skills needed for routine factory work.

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1944 Education Act

education influenced by the idea of Meritocracy (achieveing status by own efforts)

The 1944 education act brought in the Tripartite system: allocating children into 3 different types of schools based on results of their 11+ exams.

1. Grammar schools ( offered academic curriculum, gave access to higher education/non-manual jobs. often middles class attend but is avaliable for those who passed 11+ exam )

2. Secondary modern schools ( offered a non-academic but practicasl ciriculum to get manual work for those that failed the 11+ exam)

3. Technical schools ( only existed in few areas so it was really bipartite then tripartite)

Tripartite system and 11+ exam reproduced class inequality by channeling the 2 classes into different school types that offer unequal oppurtunities it also reproduced gender inequality as girls had to get higher marks then boys to get into a grammar school .

Tripartite system also justifies inequality through ideology that ability is inborn and taht the 11+ exam could,measure ability early on in life but in reality childrens enviroment affects chances of success massively 

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education policy before 1988 (the comprehensive sc

comprehensive school system introduced in many areas from 1965 onwards.

aimed to over come class divide of triparite system and be more meritcratic 

abolished 11+ exam and grammar, seconndary moderns and replaced with comprehensive schools that everyone in area would attend. 

Local Education Authority decided to be comprehensive and not all did so there was a gramar and secondary modern school divide in many areas still.

Two theory rolls of Comprehensive schools

Functionalists argue that comprehensive schools promote social integration by bringing children from different social classes together in one school.  (Ford 1969 found their was little social mixing between classes due to streaming)

Functionalists see comprehensive schools as more meriocratic becuase it gives pupils longer to show their abilities and develop unlike the tripartite 11+ exam.

Marxist argue comprehensive schools are not mericratic but reproduce class inequality through streaming and labelling but abolishing the 11+ exam it appears they are individually offered equal oppurtunities and they fail individually not at the fault of the school.

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Marketisation 1988 Education Reform Act

Marketiastion refers to the progress of introducing market forces of consumer choice and competition between suppliers into area run by the state.

Educaton market produced by :1) redirecting state control over education 2) increasing both compition between schools and parental choice of school.

Theme of education policy since 1988 Education Reform Act by conservative Marget Thatcher.

from 2010 Conservative- liberal democrat goverment took markisation further introducing free schools and acadamies 

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Marketisation 1988 (parentocracy)

policies to promote marketisation incude:

  • introducing leauge tables and oftead inspections to rank schools according to exam performance helping parents choose what school is best for them. 
  • business sponsorship of schools 
  • open enrollment (help successful schools recruit more pupils)
  • Formula funding, where schools recieve the same amount of funding for each pupil
  • schools can opt out of LEA  to be acadamies 
  • compete to attract pupils
  • tution fees for higher education
  • parents and others to set up free schools.

Miriam Davis describes  marketised education as 'parentocracy' supports of maketisation argue control shifts away from teachers and schools to the consumers (parents)  encouraging diveristy amongst schools, raising standards and offering more choice.

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marketisation reproducing inequality, league table

reproduction of inequality:  Critic of marketisation argues in increases inequalities ie Stephan Ball 1944 and Geoff whitty note how policies like formula fundong and league tables reproduce class inequalties by creating inequalities between schools. 

League tables and Cream-skimming:Policy of producing league tables of exam results encourages schools to preoduce good results which are in high demand as its what parents are attracted to.                                                                                                                                 Will Bartleett argues needing to achieve high league table results encourages :                          Cream skimming: 'good'schools can be more selective and choose their own customers and recruit high achieveing pupils (mainly middle calss)                                                                  Slit-Shifting: 'good' schools can avoid taking less able pupils who are likely  damage league table results. ( for poor league table schools the opposite aplies, cant afford to be selective and take less able pupils that give low league table results) thus league tables produce unequal schools and reproduce unequal social class inequalties,

Formula funding: Funds based of formula on how many pupils schools attarct. better schools get more money to buy better facilities linking to  will barrets theory, opposite applies to low schools.

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Gewirtz: Parental choice

Marketisation advantages the middle class by creating inequalties between schools it also gives  them a better position to choose a good school because they have high economic and cultural capital.Gewirtz study of 14 London secondary schools shows parents differences in economic and cultrual capital lead to differences in how they can exercise choice of secondary school. identifies 3 main types of parents.                                                                                       Privileged-skilled choosers: mainly professional middle class parents able to swap their cultural and economic capital for educatuional capital for their children as they take full advantage of choices avaliable for them.                                                                                                         disconnected-local choosers: working-class parents restricted by lack of economic and cultrual capital. had difficulty understadning school admission procedures and less confident dealing with schools and didnt know the choices avaliable and cant manipulate school system to their advantage.attach importance to saftey and facilities then to league tables and long term goals. restricted by distance and costs of travel.                                                                                Semi-skilled choosers: mainly working class, ambitious for their children but lacked cultural capital and found difficult to understand education market, rely on other peoples opinions about schools. frustrated at inability to get children into schools they wanted. Although theory sas education market gives equal greater choice Gewirtz concludes that in practices middle-class posses cultural and economic capital and get more choice.

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Myth of Parentocracy

Ball argues that altough marketisation gives the appearance of parentocracy that the education system is really based on parents having free choice at equal levels. instead the myth of parentocracy exposes that middle-class parents are able to take more advantage of choices avalible to them and not all parents have the same freedom to send their children to whatever school they wish.  By disgusing this fact that schooling reproduces class inequality the myth of parentocracy lets the education system appear fair and inevitable

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New Labour and Inequality

New Labour Goverment of 1997-2010 introduced policies that aimed to reduce the inequalties of marketisation.

polices such as:

  • Education Action Zones: providing some deprived areas with additional resources.
  • Aim HIgher Programme to raise the spirations of groups who are under-represented in higher education.
  • Eduction Maintance allowances: payements to students from low-income backgrounds to encourage them to stay in school after 16.

(there are others two but only need 3)

Critics: Benn 2012 sees contraction with some of labours policies as they odder education maintance allowance for oorer students but also introduce tutiion fees for higher education. She calls this 'NEW LABOUR PARADOX'

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Coalition Goverment policies from 2010 (Academies)

from 2012 schools were encouraged to leave local authority control and become acadamies. fudning was taken from LEA budgets and guven to acadamies by central goverments and acadamies were given control over their own curiculum. 

by 2012 half of secondary schools had converted to acadamies and some were run by private educational businesses and funded directly by the state. 

However, Labours orginal city acadamies targeted disadvantaged schools and areas, the coalition goverment allowed any school to become an acadamy removed the focus on reducing school inequality.

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Coalition goverment policies from 2010 (free schoo

funded diretly by the state, free schools are set up and run by parents,teachers and faith organistions/buisnesses rather then LOCAL EDUCATION AUTHORTY.

supports of free schools claim they improve standard by taking control away from the state and giving power to parent. Give teachers and parents a chance to create their own shcool if they are unhappy with the state schools in their local area.

Rebecca Allen argues research from Swedan shows only 20% schools are free shows that they only benifit highly educated families. Swedens indernational educational ranking has fallen since their introduction.

In England it is shown that free schools take fewer disadvantaged pupils then near by schools. ie in 2011 only 6.4%of pupils at bristol free schools were eligable for free school meals compared with 22.5% of pupils across the city as a whole.

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Coalition goverment policies from 2010 (fragmented

Stephan Ball 2011 argues promoting acadamies and free schools has led to both increase in fragmentation and centralisation of control of education provision in England.

Fragmentation: comprehensive system is rplaced by patchwork of diverse provisions, many involving private providers leading to greater inequaity in opportunties.

Centralisation of control: goverment alone has power ti allow or reuitre schools to become acadamies or allow free schools to be set up. their growth has reduced the role of elected local authorities in education. 

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Coalition goverment and inequality

aimed policies at reducing inequality even though most of their policies increase it 

polices reducing it:

Free school meals: for all children in reception, year one and year two.

Pupil premium: money that schools recieve for each pupil from a disadvantaged background. howeve ofsted 2012 found this money often is spent on those its supposed to help ony one in ten head teachers said it helped the pupil. 

spending on school buildings was cut by 60%, many surestart centres were closed adn the EMA was abolished and uni tution fees tripled to £9000 a year.

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