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  • Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 16-03-14 14:36

How do policies create EQUALITY?

From 1997 onwards, New Labour government has aimed to bring about EQUALITY and to make sure that social inequalities within schools were tackled. (AO1- 8 marks)


  • Sure Start: This policy was aimed at providing EXTRA FINANCIAL HELP for pre-school children that were materially deprived. They were given free school meals, play centres, home visits to advice parents on pre-school education. They were also provided with free nursery and literacy hours to make sure that they learnt basic schools. Furthermore, they were given free nursery education to give a chance for parents to work. The purpose of this policy was to create equality so that deprived children could have equal chances of achieving. 
  • Education Action Zone: This policy was aimed to improve areas of deprivation by giving them one million pounds of funding in order to compensate for this deprivation. This means that students living in these areas would also benefit from this and financial support could give them an oipportunity to achieve
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  • Education Maintenance Allowance: EMAs provided payments of up to £30 a week for students aged 16-19 years olds that were deprived and in full time education. The purpose of this policy was to encourage them to stay in education and reduce drop out rates. They could also have the chance to fund their studies by making sure that they could buy educational books, afford to pay for school trips, etc.
  • Expansion of higher education: The number of places in higher education are increasing rapidly and nearly had DOUBLED between 1990 and 2004. The purpose of this policy was to create more schools so that ALL students, despite their class background, could have a chance of attending a school.
  • Academies: These were new schools that were created that were partly sponsored by businesses, set up to REPLACE FAILING COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOLS. The purpose of this was so that no child, escpecially not the working class, did not receive ineffective education. They could all be taught well at school and have a chance of gaining good qualifications.
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Evaluation of New Labour on equality

Strenghs: McKnight et al found that New labour policies were effective in reducing inequalities. This was because the overall standards have risen, meaning that there has been an improvementin GCSE, A-levles and key stage tests. There has also been a small reduction in class differences in achievement at school, showing that the polcies were successful in tackling inequality.

Criticisms: However, New Labour has also been criticised.......

  • The same government has also raised the University fees up to £9k a year. This has put off working class students because they were afraid of being in debts and could not afford this much costs- social class inequalities were created since middle class did attend university and ended up getting better paid jobs.
  • However, social class inequalities STILL remain. The Education Reform Act has introduced marketization policies in which they had created competition BUT only the MIDDLE CLASS benefited from the introduction to market forces. Ball et al argued that this was because they were SKILLED CHOOSERS were they had the money, contacts and cultural capital to choose the best school. W/c were DISCONNECTED CHOOSERS.
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More criticisms

  • The Education Reform Act has created more inequality. For example, Ball and Whitty argued that schools in top league only wanted to admit the middle class from affluent backgrounds because they were seen as more able to keep the schools position in the top league. However, working class background children were placed in lower league schools- gained less qualifications- shows that class inequalitis still remain, reufting New labour
  • Marketization polcies further create social class inequalities. Barlett and LeGrand
      argue that marketization of education has resulted in SUCCESSFUL SCHOOLS in the WEALTHIEST areas to use CREAM-SKIMMING where they only select the most able students from the most affluent backgrounds. They also use 'SILT SHIFTING' where they offloaded working class and disabled students because they were expensive to teach and produced bad grades. This shows that inequalities still remain
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