Education and class

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  • Created by: Tom
  • Created on: 11-04-14 12:20

Cultural factors

cultural capital

  • Pierre Bourdieu - m/c parents could afford to take children to museums, art galleries, theatres, giving them cultural capital which helped in exams written by other cultured people
  • children bought up with 'cheaper' pop culture lacked these advantages - resulted in lower paid jobs making cultural capital unaffordable for their own children - social reproduction
  • study makes useful link between money(capital), culture and access - parallel between cultural reproduction down generations and social reproduction.
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cultural factors

positional theory

  • w/c children wanted to stay close to friends - inclined to follow if they leave school
  • w/c kids may be worried about going to uni domination by m/c kids
  • Raymond Boudon(1974) - norm for m/c kids to do A-levels and go to uni - social isolation more likely to result from not doing these things.
  • Evaluation: Gillian Plumber(2000) - showed similiar picture of social obstacles encountered by ambitious working class girls
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cultural factors


  • w/c people said to be fatalistic - "them and us" attitude
  • seek short term hedonism, immediate gratification, leaving school ASAP for wage.
  • Sugarman(1970) - mc/ view society as meritocratic, achieve through deferred gratification
  • evaluation: in support of Sugarman , cultural deprivation describes homes where parents have low self esteem and little interest in child's education - devalue what they do, tolerate truency and tell them to leave school at 16
  • w/c parents interviewed for Willis's Learning To Labour(1997) had fatalistic anti school attitude, known as culture of poverty
  • Reay(2001) - culture of poverty contrasts with m/c mothers who invest emotionally in their child's education, help with homework, engage with school.
  • others see poor communication as key aspect of cultural deprivation
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cultural factors

  • in some disadvantaged areas up to 50% children began primary education without necessary lamguage/communication skills - National Equality Panel(2010)

parental education

  • J.W.B Douglas(1968) - poorly educated parents less aware how to stimulate childrens' minds through educational play. Gaine and George(1999) - may also be unsure how to support children's homework
  • evaluation: factor may be offset by playgroups and after-school clubs


  • Basil Bernstein(1960) - w/c restricted code, m/c elaborated code
  • evaluation: w/c children may felt less comfortable with m/c researchers than their m/c peers - results in less articulacy in tests
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Material Factors

  • Education Divides: Poverty and Schooling(1995) - way in which lower income limits educational progress
  • inadequate nutrition+ ill health reduce school attendance
  • over-crowding makes home study difficult
  • books and computers unaffordable
  • private tuition+ education trips too costly
  • private education/transport to distant school too costly
  • family strees and breakdown increase - fewer resources to cope
  • pressure to leave school at minimum age
  • increased likelihood of living in an area with poor schools


  • previous govs. took these in to account and tried to address them through compensatory education
  • late 1960's four education priority areas given extra money to improve pre-school education, attract more teachers + buy more equipment
  • Education Action Zones(1998) - set up in disadvantaged areas to raise standards through initiatives such as breakfast and afterschool clubs
  • critics claim these initiatives failed to address poverty/cultural values of individual households
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school factors

type of school

  • independent schools only accessible to those who can afford fees - smaller classes, better facilities + behaviour
  • many influencial people product of public schools, creates 'old boys network' enabling those who wear 'old boys tie' to do well.
  • 1980 - Cons. introducted Assisted Places Scheme to pay fees of poorer kids who wish to attend private schools - labour discontinued scheme 1997 - used money to set up EAZ's in disadvantaged areas
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school factors

banding, labelling and subcultures

  • research suggests students may be assigned to bands/streams on basis of teachers' impressions of them - may be linked to social class
  • once assigned to lower ability groups, students inclined to form anti-school subcultures - impeding progress
  • may belong to deviant subcultures before they join school - home or neighbourhood factor
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FSM facts

  • eligibility for FSM used by researchers as indicator of scoio-economic background
  • at key stage 2, 54% FSM students reach level 4 or above in English and Maths - compared with 76% of non-FSM students
  • by 16 gap grows, especially for white boys - 19% white British FSM boys achieve 5+ A*-C grade GCSE's including English+Maths - 32% lower than figure for all pupils.
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