Evaluation of Changes to the Educational System

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Problems with the Tripartite System

  • Few Technical Schools were built
  • No Parity of Esteem - Many secondary modern students seen as failures
  • Girls achieved better but had fewer places.
  • Many Grammar schools were boys only,
  • Class divide remained - two thirds of grammar school students were middle class.


  • Served the interests of the middle-classes well
  • Guaranteed Social Mobility for working class students in a grammar school
  • Some research suggests it gave working class students better chances than they have today.
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Problems with Comprehensive Schooling

  • Based on Catchment Zones - Success became linked to geographical mobility
  • Organised by Ability - Led to divides between classes still

The Studies:

  • Hargreaves (1967) and Ball (1981) showed that the class divide was still present through setting and streaming
  • New Right Thinkers say that the system caused poor discipline and poor results (this is debated as exam results actually went up)
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Problems with Vocational Education

  • Hidden Political Agenda
  • Creates discipline, not work skills
  • Retained prevalent gender stereotyping

The Studies

  • Cohen (1984) stated the purpose of the courses was to prepare them and make them willing to accept lower paid work, rather than giving them the skills to succeed.
  • Buswell (1987) stated that these courses helped to reinforce gender divides, with boys pushed towards physical tasks and girls given domestic lessons in hairdressing and cookery.
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Problems with the 1988 Education Reform Act

  • Damaging Effect on children through repetitive testing
  • League Tables and Ofsted were counter productive
  • Reinforced Class Differences

The Studies:

  • Ball et al (1984) middle class pupils have more cultural capital with which to socialise with teaching staff, meaning they get a better deal in and out of lessons.
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