Education And Social Policy

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  • Created by: Lilly
  • Created on: 12-04-13 18:43

The Foster Education Act- 1870

  • Education compulsory from 5-11 (raised to 13 years in 1880) in attempt to educate the masses and eliminate the social class divide.

E-may not have helped the working class, would have been working at this age, so keeping them in school would stop them from learning skills useful in workplace

Parents now had choice of 3 schools:

1) Grammar schools (fees)   2) Elementary schools  3) Public schools (fees)

E-Working class wouldn't able to afford the fee schools, would probably had better resources/teachers- better educational standard, went to state schools- teachers less motivated as paid less- weaker/not as good resources- poorer standard of education.

Overall, the Foster Act tried to eliminate social class inequalty, however, this only catered up to the age of 11. As such, once pupils left their first schools it was the M/C that were able to go into Secondary schooling- creating a social class divide.

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The Butler Education Act -1944

  •  Aimed to improve society and economy- free education to all up to age of 15
  • WW2 coming to an end-emphasis to create 'a land fit for heroes'
  • Conservative gov- opened up secondary education- to reduce social class inequalities

TRI-PARTITE SYSTEM (3 types of schools) 1) secondary modern (W/C)  2) Technical schools (W/C)    3)Grammar schools (M/C)

  • Ability tested by 11+ exam- results decided what school they went to- this system often reflected social class background
  • Act aimed to give all pupils an equal chance to improve their talents in a system of free, state-run education
  • 'Parity of esteem'- equal opportunity between the social classes- Meritocratic ideology

E- exams use elaborated code- only really used by M/C, puts W/C at disadvantage

E-M/C better primary schooling- do better in 11+ exam- possibly had private tutors, parents had £ to pay for resoruces

E- negative stigma attached to secondary modern schools- negative self-fulfilling prophecy for WC

E-Teachers in secondary modern schools, lower paid- less motivated, possibly less qualified- also had poor resources- material deprevation

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Comprehensivisation- 1965

  • Introduced on the basis that the tripartite system limited opportunities avaliable to many students.
  • Everyone attends regardless of ability or social class- comprehensice means inclusive, involving all.
  • 11+ exams abolished, schooling dependent upon catchment area- aimed to ensure that everyone would get parity of esteem and equality within education- all social classes would have same standard of teachers/ resoruces

E- All abilities in one school, led to setting and streaming- still highlighted social class divide, W/C usually in lower sets and streams and M/C in higher sets and streams

E- Higher ability students held back by lower ability students, might not have achieved full potential, and vice versa, lower ability students may not have been able to keep up with the level of work teacher wasnt able to cater to their needs= didn't achieve what they could have done.

E- MC areas get MC schools and WC areas get WC schools- MC parents could afford to pay for public schooling- still social class divide

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Positives and negatives of comprehensivisation ('6


1) more inclusive, aimed to cater for all abilities

2) schools 'mixed'- social barriers are broken down

3) Tripartite system abolished

4)Opportunity to ahcieve according to ability not class

5)Students go to local school in catchement area

6)Setting and streaming introduced support to all


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Positives and negatives of comprehensiviation ('65


1)Limited parental choice- what if the school near to them was bad and didnt offer opportunities to strive and progress

2)Mixed ability- can teachers support pupils of all abilities in the same class?- could lead to some getting 'left behind' or some not achieving their full potential

3) Education of Bright WC might suffer if they go to the local comprehensive rather than local grammar school- might have passed their 11+ exams, went to grammar schools

4) Are they really that mixed? Idea that WC live in WC area- WC school, same with MC

5) Setting and streaming means thet are not as comprehensice as they should be

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Educational Priority Areas- 1965

  • Recognised that although comprehensive schools aimed at eliminating the social class dive, WC areas were home to WC schools
  • These 'depriced schools' were listed as 'priority' schools and accordingly they recieved additional funding and resources to compensate- an attempt to bring their standards up to those of MC schools- thus closing the social class divide
  • Known as positive discrimination
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Educational Reform Act- 1988

  • Landmark for new education system- Conservative government policy
  •  Introduction of the national cirriculum- took power away from schools and teachers as they previously had authority over what was taught- ensured all students take the same subjects, both genders must take science- more equal?
  • Aimed to measure progress against national targets- standardisation- legaue tables and testing introduced
  • Government checks- are schools reaching their targets?- intervention-Introduction of Inspection- OFSTED
  • Marketing forces introduced- increased competition- marketisation of schools
  • Greater push for Vocationalism- job-based study- reflects view that ed system has to provide skills and expertise needed by industry and the economy- introduction of NVQs and GNVQ (General National Vocational Qualifications)- alternate qualifications for 'less academic' pupils
  • Local management of schools- LMS
  • Inreased competition between schools- wanted parents to be able to choose the school- couples with league tables and testing- helps to increase marketisation
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Positives and Negatives of Education Reform Act


1)Each schools is studying the same subject- greater consistancy, more equal

2)Every child has the same education- begins to break sown the social class divide


1) Doesn't stretch pupils, those who are able to perform at a higher level than is being studied is held back by those who are less bright

2)Wasn't national, private schools didn't have to teach from the national cirriculum- more likely for MC because their parents can afford to pay the fees for the schools

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Since 1997- under New Labour

  • Excellence in cities and Education Action Zones to raise attainment in disadvantaged areas
  • Curriculum 2000- teaching of key skills introduced (literacy, numeracy and ICT) Introduction of EMA to help students stay on to 18
  • OFSTED given power to close schools and reopen them as academies- extra funding- raise standards

-Abolished grants and introduced student loans for attending uni

2006- Raising skills, Improving Life Chocies- to encourage young people to stay on in education afer 16 and improve skills for the economy - sixth form sector was promoted

2007- Children's plan

  • Aims to ensure all students get a 'world class education' and to encourage parents to be more involved in their child's education
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  • Introduction of Pupil Premium- schools get more funding for students on Free school means- but it doesn't make up for the cuts they made
  • Greater independence of schools. Introduction of academies- different to the academies introduced by Labour- giving schools greater independence from Local Education Authorities (LEAs). Schools have more control over teacher's pay, admissions procedures etc.
  • Introduction of the English Baccalaureate (Students encouraged to take maths, english, science, a language and history or geography)
  • Increased university fees begining 2012
  • The end of EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance)-given to students from lower income families who go onto sixth form college
  • Compulsory education/training to the age of 18
  • Lots of cuts to funding
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The Tripartite System

  • WW2 ending- ''land fit for heroes'- Introduction of Butler Education Act 1944 introduced Secondary education for all pupils- free for all up to age of 15
  • Act introduced Tri-Partitie system, three different types of school, each catering for different aptitudes and made education free for all pupils

1)Grammar schools- academic curriculum, access to higher education. For academic students who pased 11+ exam

2)Secondary Modern Schools- more practical curriculum and access to manual work for those who failed 11+ exam

3) Technical schools- provide explicitly vocational education for those who failed the 11+

  • Rather than promoting meritocracy, the system and 11+ reproduced class inequality by channeling the two social classes into different types of school that offered unequal opportunities
  • System also discriminated against girls, often requiring them to gain higher marks than boys on the 11+ exam to gain a place at a grammar school
  • System also justified inequality through the ideology that ability is inborn rather than the product of a child's uprbringing and enviroment- was argued that ability could be identified early on in life through the 11+ exam, in reality however, a child's social class background greatly affects their chances at school
  • HOWEVER- did have its supporters: --MC benefited --Provided almost guaranteed social mobillity for WC who made it to Grammar schools
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The Comprehensive System

  • During 1950s, discontent grew with way in which tripartite system limited opportunities avaliable to many students
  • System had not succeeded in creating eqaulity of opportunity
  • 1965- Labour government instructed all local authorities to submit plans for comprehensice reorganisation
  • Facilities upgraded so that the new comprehensive schools could provide a broad curriculum and more sporting and recreational activites

However, although there is evidence that comprehensives helped to reduce the class gap in achievement, the system continued to reproduce class inequalities for two reasons:

1) Streaming- many comprehensives were sreamed into ability grups, with MC pupils placed in higher streams and WC pupils placed in lower streams

2)Labelling- Ball and others have shown that even where streaming is not present, teachers may continue to label WC pupils negatively and restrictntheir opportunities

  • comprehensives legitimated inequality, especially through the 'myth' of meritocracy. Now that all pupils went to the same school it made it appear that they all had an equal opportunity regardless of social class background.
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Marketisation and Parentocracy

1988- Education Reforms Act (ERA)- conservative government of Thatcher, established principle of marketisation in education favoured by the New Right- from 1997 the NLabour gov of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown followed similar policies, emphasizing standards, diversity and choice

  • Marketisation- introduction of market forces of consumer choce and competition between suppliers into areas run by the state e.g. education or NHS
  • ERA created an 'education market' by:

-Reducing direct state control over ed -increasing both competition between schools and parental choice of school- Mirram Davies class describes this parental choice agenda as 'Parentocracy' because power has been moved away from producers (schools and teachers) to the consumers (parents)- claimed that this encourages diversity, gives parents more choice and drives up standards.

Policies to promote marketisation include:

1) Publication of  League tables and OFSTED inspections- parents can see information, so can chose right school- means that they make informed choice about where they send their kids

2)Business sponsorship of shools, Rikowski calls 'Business takeover of schools'       3)Formal funding, schools receive same amount of funding for each pupil  4) Schools can opt out of LEA control

5)Schools having to compete with each other to attract pupils

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The Reproduction of Inequality

  • Critics of marketisation argue that it has increased inequalities- MC parents are better placed to take advantage of avaliable choices
  • Ball & Whittey- marketisation reproduces and legitimates inequality through the exam league tables and the funding formula.

1)Exam League Tables

  • Those who achieve better results in more demand, parents attracted to those with good league table raking- allows these schools to be more selective and to recruit high achieving, mainly MC pupils= MC get best ed
  • Opposite occurs for less succesful schools- unable to select and tend to be less able, mainly WC pupils- overal effect to produce unequal schools that reproduce social class inequalities

2)The Funding formula

  • Determined by pupil numbers- more popular schools= more funding- afford to attract better qualified teachers and better facilities
  • Unpopular Sch-lose income, difficult to match teacher skills and faciliies of their more succesful rivals







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The Myth of Parentocracy

  • Marketisation reproduces inequality and also legitimates it by concealing its true causes and by justifying its existence.
  • Stephen Ball- Marketisation gives the appearance of creating a parentocracy where parents have free choice over which schools they send their children to- HOWEVER, this is really a myth because not all parents have the same freedom of choice
  • Gerwitz- MC parents have more economic and cultural capital and so are better able to take advantage of the choice avaliable- e.g. by moving house into areas with better schools
  • By disguising the fact that schooling continues to reproduce class inequality in this way, the 'myth' of 'parentocracy' makes inequality in education appear to be fair and inevitable
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New Labour Policies Since 1997

  • Aimed to reduce inequality of achievement and promote greater diversity, choice and competition= E- how can competition work without producing inequality. All markets produce winners and losers

Polices designed to reduce inequality:

1)1988, Education Action Zones (Excellence in Cities Zones) intended that partnerships between LEA and local businesses would focus on a cluster of schools- normally under-performing secondary schools and its feeder primary schools in deprived inner-city area- raise cash for IT equipment or the hire of better qualified teachers

2)Designed to raise standards and enrich children's educational experience- however intended that this scheme will end after the schools' 5 year contracts end, although some parts of it will be amalgamated into teh EiC scheme.

  • 1999- Excellence in Cities (EiC) which, trhough a combination of initiatives, aimed to:

-raise the aspirations and ahcievement of students    --tackle disaffection, social exclusion and indiscipline   --Improve parents' confidence in schools in inner-city areas characterised by social deprevation

  • Introduced EMA payments to low income backgrounds- encourage them to stay on post 16
  • Proposal to raise leaving age to 18, so that no 16-17 yr old could become a 'Neet'- not in education, employment or training
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Policies designed to increase diversity & choice:

  • Secondary schools encouraged to apply for specialist status in particular curriculum areas. By 2007, about 85% of all secondary schools had become specialist schools
  • It is argued that this offeres parents increased choice and raises standards by letting schools build on their strenghts
  • Labour has also promoted academies as a policy for raising achievement and plans to have 200 academies by 2010- most are formly under-performing schools with largely WC pupils- claimed thar academy status will raise the achievement status of WC pupils
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Evaluation of New Labour Policies

Geoff Whitty (2003)- identifies a number of criticisms of new labour policies

  • Many changes were merely cosmeti, gives examples to support this claim:

--increased privatisation of educational services such as school meals 

 --an expansion of specialist schools in which selection was allowed  

--A continuing emphasis on competition to drive up standards  

-Grammar schools were allowed to remain unless there was a vote of parents to turn them into comprehensives

  • Whitty belives all these measures allowed the middle class to manipulare markets in education to benefit their children
  • Selection by interest in and aptitude in music and dance already being used by some to enhace entry of academicallt able students from MC families
  • Also critical of New Labour's policies relating to the curriculum, according to him, Labour governments have not only stuck to a highly traditional curriculum content, they have also narrowed the curriculum and introduced prescriptive approaches to the teaching of literacy and numeracy, i.e. telling teachers how to teach
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