• Created by: Iveta
  • Created on: 16-03-14 12:41

Education and Social Policy

The 1944 Education Act

Aim: to provide a FREE education for everybody up to the age of 15.

Describe: They etstablished 3 types of secondary schools under the tripartite system and different types of pupils attended different types of schools.

The Grammar School admitted pupils based on passing their IQ test (11+ tests) and was based around Academic education. This type of school usually admitted middle-class the most.

The Secondary Modern School was for students that have failed their 11+ tests and lacked aptitude in technical subjects. These schools were less academic and placed a greater emphasis on practical and vocational subjects. They usually consisted of working-class pupils.

The Technical School was for students of variety of backgrounds, particularly skilled, working-class backgrounds and the school placed a great emphasis on technical subjects.

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Evaluation of the tripartite system


  • It had provided an education for ALL students; depsite their social class backgrounds and where they were from.


  • The social democratic perspective have criticised the tripartite system for being SOCIALLY DIVISIVE. The middle class are most likely to be accepted in grammar schools, were they get BETTER education than working class students. Students were also LABELLED based on the school they went to so w/c were usually labelled as failures- this lowered their self esteem. This shows that tripartie system is criticised for creating SOCIAL CLASS INEQUALITIES.
  • Many criticis also argue that 11+ tests did not measure ability- testing at 11 was too young. Some children may be immature and just because tehy failed does NOT mean they are less bright or failures
  • Another way inequalities are created was because the middle class could afford private tutors and educational resources to prepare their children well for the 11+ tests. Since working class were deprived, they could not afford this and they failed.
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Comprehensive Schools

AIM: The comprehensives were introduced in the 1960s partly as a result of avoiding the criticisms put forward by the social democrats. They wanted to create MORE EQUALITY and BREAK DOWN CLASS DIVISIONS. 

Describe: They did this by including all the different types of people from different social classes under one roof. This meant that there would be no inequality because working class and middle class would be taught in the SAME school.

Evaluation: Although they tried to reduce inequalities, they STILL remained...

  • Labelling was introduced were some students were labelled positively and 'brighter' than other students. This was usually the middle class, where they were placed in higher streams and sets. The working class were negatively labelled and so placed in lower streams where they underachieved. Social democrats argue that this is the tripartite system UNDER ONE ROOF- social inequalities still existed 
  • Teaching was harder because some more able students may know the material whereas less able students may find it more diffiticult. This makes it harder for teachers to teach when students work at different levels and paces.
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Evaluation of comprehensives continued

  • Another criticism is that more able students are NOT stretched to their full potential and the poor behaviour of those that didnt care about school dragged down their performance, escpecially those forming anti-school subcultres. Many teachers also focused more on the children that dirsupted i.e. telling them to quieten down and this negatively affected all the children. This shows that comprehensive schools are not always the ideal type of school.
  • Some critics argue that comprehensive schools were less effective and less successful in improving exam grades compared to grammar schools. They were more academic and containted students that were ALL equally hard working and disciplined, so 'problem' children could not disrupt them. This shows that comprehensive schools are not ideal since they lowered their grades down.

However, there is some evidence that this is not the case and comprehensive schools did not lead to a lowering of standards. For example, the proportion of the population gaining A-levels and higher grades GCSE grades increased.

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The 1988 Education Reform Act

AIM: The Conservatives and the New Right believe that a free-market can be created, in which companies compete for businesses and this can provide improvement in the quality of services over time. They are therefore in FAVOUR of the marketization of education- where there is a market for education, just as there is a market for small busineses. Parents also had more CHOICE (parentocracy) in choosing schools. The aim of this is to create competiion and improve standards.

Describe: The 'Formula Fuding and open enrolment' was were schools were not controlled by Local Education Authorities so could enrol as many pupils as they can.The BEST schools that attracted the MOST students received the LARGEST funds. This created COMPETITION as schools aimed to improve thier standards in order to attract the most students.

Another policy was the 'intorduction to league tables and published inspections'. This meant that parents and children could make a rational decision on which school they wanted to go to based on the league table position of the school and how positive the inspections are. Again this created competition because schools wanted to improve their teaching and this could DRIVE UP STANDARDS

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Overall criticism of the 1966 Education Reform Act

A strengh is that competition did indeed drive UP STANDARDS and compeition meant that some schools that were underachieving and not very good could improve to attract more students.
League tables and reports from Ofstead were also another useful way for people to see which school they wanted to go to.

Criticisms: However, there are some criticisms of these polcies...

  • Ball et all argues that NOT all parents were able to take advantage of the intoduction of markets. he describes that middle class parents were the SKILLED CHOOSERS so they were able to choose the best possible school for their children since they had the social contacts, money and cultural capital. On the other hand, working-class parents were DISCONNECTED choosers so they ended up choosing lower league schools were students underacheived
  • Barlett and LeGrand also criticise the introduction to marketisation.
    They 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 ....
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Ccriticisms of the 1988 Reform Act

the school offloads WORKING CLASS and DISABLED children because they are more expensive to teach and usually do not get the best grades. This means that they produce poor exam grades and the schools league table position can be brought down. This shows that marketisation has led to inequalities being created.

  • The new policies introduced by the Education Reform Act ALL tried to attract the MOST Academically able students to boost up their position on the league table. Ball and Whitty argue that the working class students are usually admitted to lower league, less successful and popular schools whereas the middle class are usually admitted to the successful, high league schools- social class inequalities created.
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Vocational Education- could be a 6 or 12 mark Ques

AIM: The Concervatives felt that youth unemployment was the result of the schools' failure to teach the appropriate work skills to students and this resulted in restricting Britain's economic growth. Therefore their aim was to develop a number of schemes which aimed to REDUCE youth unemployment and increase young people's skills to make them more employable and aware of the world of work. These schemes became known as 'New Vocationalism'.

Describe: A number of measures and schemes were introduced....

  • The Youth Training Scheme was a two year course that combined work-experience with education. It was aimed at unemployed young people who were though to lack basic skills. Employers were paid to take and train unemployed youths. 
  • The National Vocational Qualifications were studied part-time in colleges while students worked in the occupation they were studying. These JOB SPECIFIC qualifications equipped the students well for the type of job they were going to do 
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Vocational Education

  • Modern Apprenteships: combined work-based TRAINING with part-time attendance at college to help young workers achieve NVQ qualifications at Level 3- equivalent to an A-level.
  • General National Vocational Qualifications: GNVQs are studied in school as an alternative to academic courses and cover wide areas- for example, leisure and tourism, health and social care, etc. They aim to prepare students in the particular job they are aiming to do in the future.

Strenght: they did indeed help students find another way of gaining an education who may not particularly be successful at taking A-levels. This is another way of gaining qualifications so they become employable and find a job- reduces school leavers with no jobs

Criticisms: However, 'new vocationalism' can be criticised....

  • Cohen criticises it because he argues that young people are being deceived into thinking that Vocational Education prepares them for an actual job when in fact the whole AIM of them is to create 'good attitudes' and work discipline. The skills that were actually taught to students were only suitable for very low-paid and low-skilled jobs.
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More criticisms of vocational education

  • Buswell argues that the introduction to vocational education has created gender inequalities. She critcises the schemes for failing to break down traditional patterns of sex stereotyping and such schemes DO NOT encourage girls to move into nontraditional areas. She pointed out that girls are encouraged to take up schemes that prepare them for retail work, child-caring work, etc, which is low-paid and they are most likely to work part-time when they are older. This creates gender inequality because in shows how women's position is restricted
  • Finn critized training schemes for offering cheap labour for employers and for providing them  with little real training. he believed that the real purpose was to manipulate unemployment statistics by taking people off the register and also to undermine trade union power. This shows that again young people are deceived into thinking that they are prepared for real work when infact they are given little of this.
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