1870 Forster Act
This law introduced compulsory education for all.
Education was state funded (free) and provided basic reading/writing skills etc. "Elementary schools" these were attended by the working class. Middle and upper classes were likely to attend fee paying/ private grammer + public schools that were more academic.
In 1918, school leaving age was raised to 14.
This law made things more mertiocratic because everybody had to go to school meaning the working classes had more oppourtunities.
In other ways it was not completely meritocratic as the working classes could not afford as good education.
1944 Butler Act (Tripartite system)
Introduced 3 different types fo school in every area from age 11+ (secondary level)
1) Grammer school - very academic
2) Secondary modern - less academic
3) Technical school - very vocational (learned specific skills like woodwork)
At age 11 took an exam to see which school was best for you based on talent and ability. The test was called the 11+.
In theory, this policy was meritocratic becuase it potentially matched people on ability. Test was bias to middle class - working class children gained a negitive label from being at secondary modern. Girls had to score higher ther boys in the 11+ test.
Social inequality was reproduced.
There were very little technical school built.
1965 - Comprehensive Act
Labour left wing - (help the middle class)
scapped the 11+ test and the tripartite system in most areas of the country.
- Built comprehensive schools - these were non selective schools (NO TESTS). Introduced on the basis of catchment areas. children of all backgrounds were educated together.
Meritocratic in theory, but critisised for being "the tripartite systembut under one roof". Setting and streaming occured (middle class ended up int the top sets / working class end up inbottom sets) - labelling , teacher expectations, self fuffiling prophecy.
Based on catchment areas (postcode lottery) - better schools have higher house prices near them meaning the working classes end up as better schools.
Because some schools are "image concious" they market themselves towards white, middle class students.