Educational Policy

  • Created by: Holly
  • Created on: 17-05-15 12:34


  • Industrialisation increased the need for an educated workforce
  • In the later 19th century, the state became more involved in education
  • In this period, the education a child received depended on their class background
  • Middle class children were given an academic curriculum whereas working class children received basic numeracy and literacy, and learnt to be obedient in factory work
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Tripartite System

  • In 1944, education began to be shaped by the ideas of meritocracy
  • This is the belief that status is achieved through merits and skills
  • In 1944, the Education Act brought on the tripartite system
  • The needs and aptitudes of pupils were identified by the 11+
  • There were 3 schools:

1) Grammar schools

  • Academic curriculum
  • Non-manual jobs
  • Passed the 11+

2) Secondary Modern

  • Non-academic practical curriculum
  • Access to manual work

3) Technical schools

  • Only existed in certain areas

Rather than promoting meritocracy, the tripartite system and 11+ introduced class inequality

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The Comprehensive System

  • Introduced from 1965 onwards
  • Aimed to overcome class inequalities which were created by the tripartite system
  • The 11+ was abolished along with grammar and secondary modern schools
  • These schools were replaced with comprehensives, which all children in the area could attend
  • Class inequality still existed
  • Streaming: pupils were streamed into ability groups
  • Labelling: working class pupils were labelled negatively whereas middle class pupils were labelled positively
  • Comprehensives legitimised inequality even though all pupils now went to the same schools so it appeared they all had equal opportunities, regardless of their class backgrounds
  • There were still 164 grammar schools in England
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Marketisation and Parentocracy

  • The 1988 Education Reform Act introduced by Thatcher established the principle of marketisation in eduction, favoured by the New Right
  • Created an education market by reducing state control over education and increasing competition between schools and parental choice of school
  • New Right favour this - they argue that state control leads to low standards and inefficiency. Schools were now run like businesses that have to attract customers
  • David describes this as parentocracy - rule by parents
  • Supporters of marketisation argue that the power moves from the producers to the consumers
  • This promotes diversity, givers parents more choice and raises standards
  • Critics argue that it increased inequalities
  • In addition, middle class parents are better placed to take advantage of the choices available
  • Ball looked at how league tables and funding formula reproduces inequality
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Policies To Promote Marketisation

  • Publication of league tables
  • Business sponsorships
  • Open enrolment
  • Formula funding
  • Being allowed to opt out of LEA control
  • Competing to attract students
  • Educational vouchers
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Exam League Tables & Formula Funding

Exam League Tables:

  • Schools with good results are more in demand
  • Schools can be selective and can recruit high achieving pupils (mainly middle class)
  • Consequently, these pupils get a better education
  • The opposite is true for schools in a poorer position

Formula Funding:

  • Schools are allocated money depending on how many pupils they attract
  • The more popular schools get more funding, attract better teachers and pupils and have better facilities
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The Myth of Parentocracy

  • Marketisation justifies inequality
  • Ball believes that marketisation gives the appearance of creating a parentocracy, although he argues that this is a myth
  • Gerwitz argues that middle class parents have more economic and cultural capital, and so can take better advantage of the choices available
  • Compton and Leech show how middle class parents even move to different catchment areas for better schools
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