The New Right

  • New Right theorists believe in the power of individual choice, and prefer this to the state intervening in people's lives.
  •  They claim that the role of a school should be more like the role of a business. Businesses have to compete with one another to attract customers and provide those consumers with the products they want and need. New Right theorists claim this forces all businesses to continually improve their standards 
  • State schools are run by the state, so they don't have to compete for their consumers (pupils, parents, and employers). New Right theorists say that this has caused poor standards. They want to accelerate the creation of an 'education market', where a school's role is to provide what its community wants and needs.
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Marxists say that education legitimises inequality through meritocracy. They claim that meritocracy is a myth, so working-class pupils are blamed for their poor results, when in fact they're the result of their social class.


  • Education legitimises social inequality
  • Rewards in education based on class of origin
  • "Education reproduces inequality by justifying privelege and attributing poverty to personal failure"
  • Reject role allocation - those traits needed for a subordinate workforce are rewarded.

Strengths: 1. Useful for exposing the myth of meritocracy 2. Raise the issue of ideological control of class inequality 3.There is support for B+G claims - we do reward hard work, obedience, and conformity.

Weaknesses: 1. B+G criticised by postmodernists - workforce today is not the kind described by marxists. 2. Feminists would say gender is more important.

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Althusser (Marxist)

  • Repressive State Apparatus - i.e. Police, Courts, Army
  • Ideological State Apparatus - i.e. Religion, The Media, Education
  • Functions of Education
    • Reproduction of Class Inequality
    • Justification of Class Inequality 
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Bowles and Gintis (Marxists)

The Hidden Curriculum 

-School corresponds to work and the education system produces an obedient workforce who accept authority without question. 

- This correspondence principle operates throught the hidden curriculum - all the 'lessons' that are learnt without actually being taught i.e. routine, punctuality, hierarchy, obeying rules etc.

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Paul Willis (Marxist)

'Learning to Labour'

- Agrees with Bowles and Gintis but...

- Using in-depth qualitative methods he showed how working class students can resist attempts to indoctrinate them.

- Studied a group of 12 working-class male pupils he referred to as 'the lads' in a school on a working-class housing estate in Wolverhampton in the 1970s. 

- The 'lads' developed an anti-school subculture 

- Willis' research suggests schools are not directly preparing the sort of obedient and docile labour force required by capitalism which Althusser and Bowles and Gintis suggest.

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Bordieu (Marxist)

Cultural Capital

The term 'capital' usually refers to wealth but in addition to this economic capital, Bordieu identifies two further types. These are 'educational capital' or qualifications, and 'cultural capital'. He argues that the middle class generally possess more of all three types of capital.

  • Cultural Capital
    • Knowledge, attitudes, values, language, tastes and abilities of the middle class.
    • Middle class children acquire the ability to grasp, analyse, and express abstract ideas
    • Gives an advantage to those who possess it.
  • Educational and Economic Capital
    • Bordieu argues that educational, economic and cultural capital can be converted into one another.
    • Middle-class children with cultural capital are better equipped to deal witth the demands of the school curriculum and gain qualifications. Because they have educational capital they can gain higher paying jobs and therefore have economic capital. 
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Gerwitz: Marketisation and Parental Choice

One example of how cultural and economic capital can lead to differences in educational achievement is via the impact of marketisation and parental choice

Gerwitz (1995) Study of 14 London schools, based on interviews with teachers and parents, and on secondary data such as school documents. She used Bordieu's ideas to explain her findings.

She found that differences in economic and cultural capital lead to class differences in how far parents can exercise choice of secondary schools. She identitifies three main types of parents:

  • Priveleged-skilled choosers -  Mainly professional middle-class parents who used their economic and cultural capital to gain educational capital for their children.
  • Disconnected-local choosers - Working-class parents whose choices were restricted by their lack of economic and cultural capital.
  • Semi-skilled choosers - Mainly working-class -  ambitious for their children but still lacked cultural and economic capital.
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Functionalism Says Education has Three Functions that Help Society:

1) Education plays a part in secondary socialisation, passing on core values.

2) Education sifts and sorts people for the appropriate jobs. This is called the allocation function.

3) Education teaches the skills needed in work and by the economy.

Education is meritocratic.  A meritocracy is when social rewards are allocated by talent and effort rather tha because of a position someone was born into. 

Talent + motivation + equal opportunity = qualifications and a high position in society.

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Durkheim (Functionalist)

Compared school to a miniature society.

Identified two main functions of education:

  • Social Solidarity
    • Each individual should feel part of a single body/unit.
    • Social life and co-operation is impossible if individuals pursue selfish desires.
    • Education implements shared beliefs and values.
  • Specialist Skills
    • Modern Industrial Economies havea complex division of labour.
    • Specialist Skills and knowledge are required for this.
    • Education provides these so people can fulfil their roles in the complex division of labour
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Parsons (Functionalist)


School is the 'focal socialising agency', acting as a bridge between the family and wider society.

In the family: 

  • Children judged by particularistic standards.
  • Child's status is ascribed.

School and wider society:

  • Judged by universalistic and impersonal standards. 
  • A person's status is achieved.

School prepares us to move from the family to wider society because school and society are based on meritocratic principles. In a meritocracy, everyone is given an equal opportunity, and individuals achieve rewards through their own effort and ability.

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Davis + Moore (Functionalists)

Say that every society sorts its members into different positions.

They think that there are rules for how education does this - called "principles of stratification". 

They believe that there has to be a system of unequal rewards (more money or status) to motivate people to train for top positions.

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Cultural Deprivation

  • Cultural deprivation theory states that those who are at the bottom of the class system are being deprived of some values, attitudes and specialist skills that are essential for educational success.
  • This theory puts the blame for educational failure on children and their families, their neighbourhood and the subculture of their social group.
  • The child who has been culturally deprived is lacking in skills, attitudes and important values that are essential to high educational success. Their environment is culturally and economically poor.
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Bernstein (Cultural Deprivation)

Restricted Code

  • Found in everyday spoken language
  • Used by people who know each other well
  • Short, simple sentences
  • Details and explanations often omitted

Elaborated Code

  • Explains things in greater deatail
  • Long, complex sentences

According to Bernstein, both languages are used by the middle class but only the restricted code is used by the working class. Teachers, exams and textbooks in school use the elaborated code and therefore working class children are at a disadvanatage. 

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Douglas (Cultural Deprivation)

Attitudes and Values

In 'The Home and the School' (1964) Douglas studied the educational career of British children born during the first week of March 1946.

Douglas related educational attainment to many factors including students' health, size of family, and the quality of the school. The most important factor apparently was parents' interest in their children's education.

In general, middle class parents showed a greater interest in their children's education, by visiting the school more frequently to discuss their children's progress.

- Supported by Feinstein's (2006) research from two longitudinal studies

- Criticised - working class parents do not feel at ease in a middle class establishment such as a school, and perhaps their jobs with long hours and shift work make it difficult for them to visit the school.

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Sugarman (Cultural Deprivation)

Recognised that variations in value existed between different social classes:

  • Fatalism - 'whatever will be, will be' and there is nothing you can do to change your status. Wheras Middle Class values emphasise you can change your position through your own efforts.
  • Collectivism - Valuing being part of a group more than succeeding as an individual. Wheras the Middle Class view is that an individual should not be held back by group loyalties.
  • Immediate gratification - Seeking pleasure now rather than making sacrifices in order to get rewards in the future. Middle Class values emphasise deferred gratification, making sacrifices now for greater rewards later.
  • Present-time orientation Seeing the present as more important than the future and not having long-term goals or plans. Wheras Middle Class culture has a future-time orientation that sees planning for the future as important. 
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Hyman (Cultural Deprivation)

1) The working class believe that upward social mobility is not necessarily desirable because it may involve moving away from the social solidarity and support of the working class community.

2) In any case, based upon experience, upward social mobility is difficult to achieve for working class people. Investing effort and time in formal education to try to achieve upward social mobility may involve significant financial risks of loss of income in the event of, say, examination failure at Advanced or Degree levels. Simply aiming to 'learn a trade' may seem a more realistic, more sensible strategy.

3) Since long range social mobility is seen as neither desirable nor easily achievable, working class parents and their children are likely to place less importance on formal education as a route to this undesirable/unachievable social mobility and this helps to explain why working class students are likely to be less successful in school.

4) Middle Class attitudes are said to be the exact opposite. Most middle class people are seen as believing that upward social mobility is both desirable and possible and higher educational qualifications is important. 

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Compensatory Education

  • The theory of cultural deprivation has had a significant influence on education policies in the 1960s and 1970s
  • If children were culturally deprived, then they should have some form of compensation to make up for this deprivation. This is the thinking behind compensatory education. 
  • The idea was to target children in some areas who had failed in the education system.
  • Funding was provided to try and 'enrich' the lives and culture of those children who did not have the innante support at home.
  • An attempt was made to try and raise the standards of literacy as well as cultural experiences.
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Tackling Cultural Deprivation (Social Policy)

1977 - Labour came into power, 'Education Action Zones' (EAZs) were established to try and tackle the problem of cultural deprivation. Disadvantaged areas received additional help

The schools and the Local Education Authorities worked with local businesses and other industries. They recieved more funding.

These Labour policies placed a greater emphasis on the weaknesses of schools. But according to Curtis (2003) some of the outcomes were disappointing. Namely 'Excellence in Cities'. According to Mcknight et al. (2005), this scheme, has shown some improvement.

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Critics of Cultural Deprivation Theory

  • Tessa Blackstone and Jo Mortimore point out that working class parents do take an interest in their children's education. They do not feel comfortable visiting the school because the attitudes of some of the teachers.
  • Blackstone and Mortimore state that the teachers represent authority and perhaps because because of the parents' childhood experiences, they do not feel comfortable meeting with them. 
  • They also point out that working class parents do not have as much time to visit the school because of the demands of their jobs.
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Material Deprivation

Unlike cultural deprivation theorists who blame educational failure on the inadequacy of the W/C subculture, many other sociologists see material deprivation as the main cause of under-achievement.

This refers to poverty and lack of material necessities such as adequate housing and income.

Poverty is closely linked to educational underachievement. For example:

  • In 2006, only 33% of children receiving Free School Meals gained 5 or more A*-C GCSEs against 61% of pupils not receiving FSM.
  • Nearly 90% of 'failing' schools are located in deprived areas.
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Material Deprivation (cont.)

  • Housing
    • Can affect achievement directly and indirectly.
    • Overcrowding makes it harder for a child to study.
    • May have disrupted sleep - sharing rooms or beds.
    • Lack of space affects play and therefore development.
    • Temporary accomodation - move schools - disrupted education.
    • Damp conditions - more health issues
  • Diet and Health
    • Lower intake of energy, vitamins, and minerals.
    • Absences - due to illness and difficulty concentrating in class.
    • More likely to have behavioural or emotional problems.
  • Financial Support and Educational Expenses
    • Lack of financial support - miss out on opportunities.
    • Have cheaper clothes/equipment - stigmatised + teased.
    • Part-time jobs - negative impact on school work
    • Fear of debt - less likely to go to uni- more likely to drop out.
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Ray Rist (1970) - Labelling in primary schools. Labelling begins at the very start of a child's 'Educational Career'. 

Study of American Kindergartens - Even in Kindergarten, it has been shown the way teacher's think of pupils can have an impact on their attainment.

Ray Rist found teachers used information about the children's home background and appearance to place them in seperate groups, seating each group at a different table. Those who she decided were fast learners she labelled the 'tigers'. The other groups were known as the 'cardinals' and the 'clowns'. 

These groups were decided on based on the children's class and appearance, not through assessment of capability.

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Rutter (Class differences - internal factors)

Rutter (1979) 'Fifteen Thousand Hours: Secondary Schools & their Effects on Children'

Rutter suggests that schools can actually make a difference between the success or failure of an individual. He argues that there are specific factors that make schools 'good' - or of course 'bad'. He draws particular attention to the role that teachers play. Positive features of schools include:

  • Teachers are well prepared for the lesson.
  • Teachers lead by example e.g Punctuality.
  • Teachers have high expecattions of pupils.
  • Teachers show genuine interest.
  • Teachers treat students as responsible people.
  • Mixed ability classes - high ability lead by example.
  • Teachers place more emphasis on praise & reward than punishment.
  • Teachers should generate an ethos which reflects these points.
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Labelling Theory

To label someone is to attach a meaning or definition to them. In this case, teachers may label students as 'bright', 'hardworking' & 'able', or perhaps 'thick', 'troublemaker' & 'unable'.

There is evidence to suggest that teachers pass judgements on their students based on pre-existing stereotypes of what constitutes the 'Ideal Pupil' - this is often linked to the class-background of their students.

Becker (1971) Labelling in Secondary Schools

Using interviews of 60 high school teachers, Becker found that teachers stereotyped students based on their work, conduct & appearance. Teachers saw M/C children as the closest to their stereotype of the 'Ideal Pupil' & W/C pupils as the furthest away from this 'ideal'. 

Hargreaves suggests that labelling leads to certain students being given imaginary halos which stay with them throughout their educational career. Further interactions with teachers are based on these halos - The Halo Effect.

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The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that comes true purely on the basis of it being made in the first place.

Stage 1.  Teacher labels a pupil & makes predictions about them in relation to the label.

Stage 2. The teacher interacts with thr pupil based on the label & prediction.

Stage 3. The pupil internalises the label, prediction & teachers' expectations & it becomes part of their self-concept. The pupil becomes the label and acts accordingly to the prediction & this fulfils the original 'prophecy'. 

There is research evidence of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy...

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Evidence of Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) Teacher's Expectations & the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

  • Told a school that they had a new ability-based test that could be used with pupils to identify those that would 'spurt' ahead (high ability) - the teachers believed this.
  • All pupils were tested & then R&J randomly selected 20% of them and told the school (again a lie) that these pupils were the 'Spurters'.
  • A year later it was found that 47% of these pupils had made 'significant progress' when compared to the remaining 53% of pupils. 

R&J suggested that the teachers interacted with the 'Spurter' pupils differently & conveyed their high expectations on to them - in turn, these pupils internalised these views and performed better than the 'Non-Spurters'.

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy can also produce under-achievement.

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Streaming and the SFP

  • Separating children into different ability groups or classes called 'streams'.
  • Each ability group is taught separately from the others for all subjects.
  • Studies have shown the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is particulary likely to occur whe children are streamed.
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Pupil Subcultures

  • Pupil Subcultures 
    • A group of pupils who share similar values and behavioural patterns.
    • Emerges as a response to labelling and streaming.
    • Create inequalities, class differences, achievement differences, and self-fulfilling prophecies.
  • Differentiation 
    • Colin Lacey (1970
    • "Process by which teachers categorise pupils according to how they perceive their ability, attitude and/or behaviour" through setting/streaming
      • Most able = high status = top set
      • Least able = inferior status = bottom set
  • Polarisation 
    • "Pupils respond to streaming by moving towards one of two opposite poles or extremes"
    • Hightown boys grammar school study: Streaming polarised boys into a Pro-school and Ani-school subculture.
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Pupil Subcultures 2

Pro-School Subculture                            Anti-School Subculture

- High streamed                                                  -Low streams                                             

Middle Class                                              - Working Class

- High Status - successful                             - Low Status - Failure

- Committed to values of the school             - Low self esteem

David Hargreaves (1967) - Interviewed boys in secondary modern schools. Found subcultures formed due to triple failures:

  • Failing 11+
  • Low Streams
  • Labelled worthless louts

Found high status went to those who flouted the school rules.

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Subcultures 3

Peter Woods (1981) - Argues the division between pro and -anti-school subcultures is simplistic. There are a variety of pupil responses to labelling and streaming:

  • Ingratiation - Follows school norms and values, 'tescher's pet'.
  • Ritualism - Going through the motions and staying out of trouble
  • Retreatism - Daydreaming and mucking about
  • Rebellion - Outright rejection of school


Do all pupils who are part of these subcultures fail?

  • Deterministic
  • What about people who are part of positive subcultures who still fail?

Would Marxists agree with subcultures?

  • Ignore wider structures of power within which labelling takes place.
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The Marketisation of Education 

An attempt to improve education by making schools and colleges compete for students in an 'education market'. Decisions made by government, typically, in the 1980s and 19990s meant the following were introduced:

  • Funding Formula - gives schools the same amount of money per pupil
  • Exam League Tables - ranking each school according to exam performance
  • Increased competition between schools to attract pupils.

Educational Triage - 

Schools ration their time and resources to focus on the students who are capable of getting 5 grade A to C to boost their league table position. 

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Feminists say that the Education System is Patricarchal 

  • Some feminists argue that the hidden curriculum unofficially reinforces gender differences
  • There are still gender differences in subject choice in schools. Gender stereotyping may still exist.
  • Girls are now outperforming boys at school - but boys still demand more attention from the teacher.
  • Men seem to dominate the top positions in schools (head teacher, deputy head) and even more so at universities.

- Liberal Feminists want equal access to education for both sexes.

- Radical Feminists believe men are a bad influence, and want  female-centred education for girls.

- Marxist Feminists want to consider gender inequalities combined with class inequalities.

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Gender Differences in Education

  • Changes in education policies have played a major role in contributing to gender differences, in particular the 1988 Education Reform Act
  • This act introduced the National Curriculum, which meant that maths and science were compulsory to the age of 16, giving girls no opportunity to opt out of these traditionally male subjects.
  • The act also introduced coursework, which girls perform much better at, in general, than boys.
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Gender Differences in Education

Equal Opportunities Policies

Feminist ideas are now widespread in the education system. In particular, the basic belief in gender equality and the boys and girls are equally capable and should have the same opportunities is now widely accepted and has become a social norm within education. 

This has led to policies aimed at giving girls and boys equal opportunities:

  • GIST - Girls In Science and Technology
    • Action-research project to improve girls' achievement in science + technology.
    • Worked with teachers to reduce sex stereotyping 
  • WISE - Women In Science and Engineering
    • Programme which enables + energises to increase participation of women in science.
  • The National Curriculum which, as mentioned previously, means boys and girls now largely study the same subjects.


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Gender Differences in Education

Positive Role Models

  • More female teachers and head teachers than in the past and these provide positive, pro-educational role models for girls.
  • The presence of more female teachers also 'feminises' the learning environment and encourages girls to see school as part of a female 'gender domain'. As a result, they come to perceive educational success as a desirable feminine characteristic.

GCSE and Coursework

Girls do better in coursework than boys because they are more conscientous and better organised. As a result, girls' exam results were boosted.

Selection and League Tables

  •  Girls are generally more successful than boys, so more attractuve to schools
  • Boys are lower-achieving and more badly-behaved- seen as a liablity by schools
  • Girls more likely to get places in good schools
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Gender Differences in Education

1. Impact of Feminism

  • Feminist ideas likely to have affected girls' self-image and aspirations, as a result they are more motivated to do well in education.

2. Changes in the Family

  • An increase in the divorce rate - about 40% of marriages now end this way
  • More lone parent families, over 90% of which are female headed.
  • More cohabitation and a decrease in marriage.
  • Smaller families and more women staying single.

Means girls have stronger female role models who don't need no man.

3. Changes in women's Employment - Now more employment opportunities for women 

4. Changes in law

  • 1970s Equal Pay Act and 1975 Sex Discrimination act
  • = more incentive to do well in education.
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Ethnic Differences in Achievement

Material deprivation explanations see educational failure as resulting from factors such as substandard housing and low income. Ethnic minorities are more likely to face these problems. For example, according to Flaherty:

  • Pakistanis & Bangladeshis are 3x more likely than white people to be in the poorest 1/5 of the population.
  • Africans, Pakistanis & Bangladeshis are 3x more likely to be unemployed than white people.
  • 15% of minority groups live in overcrowded homes (2% for white people)

These inequalities parallel those seen in educational achievement. For example, Indians and Whites generally have a higher social class position than Bangladeshis and and Pakistanis, who often face high levels of poverty.

Evidence for this view comes from the Swann Report (1985) which estimated that social class accounts for at least 50% of the difference in achievement between ethnic groups.

Gillborn & Mirza - social class factors don't override ethnicity - if we compare pupils of the same class but different ethnicities, we still find differences in achievement.

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Ethnic Differences in Achievement

Racism in Wider Society 

Some sociologists argue that poverty is itself the product of another factor - racism

John Rex shows how racial discrimination leads to social exclusion and how this worsens the poverty faced by ethnic minorities

In housing, for instance, discrimination means that minorities are more likely to be forced into substandard accomodation than white people of the same class.

In employment, too, there is evidence of direct and deliberate discrimination

This helps to explain why members of ethnic minorities are more likely to face unemployment and low pay, and this in turn has a negative effect on their children's educational prospects.

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Ethnic Differences in Achievement

1. Labelling and Teacher Racism

Studies show that that teachers often see black and Asian pupils as being far from the 'ideal pupil'.

For example, black pupils are often seen as disruptive and Asians as passive.

Negative labels may lead teachers to treat ethnic minority pupils differently.

This disadvantages them and may result in their failure.

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Gillborn and Youdell

Gillborn (1990) found that teachers were quicker to discipline black pupils than others for the same behaviour.

Gillborn and Youdell (2000) argue that this is the result of teachers' 'racialised expectations'. They found that teachers expected black pupils to present more disciplinary problems and misinterpreted their behaviour as threatening or as a challenge to authority. When teachers acted on this misperception, the pupils responded negatively which resulted in further conflict.

Gillborn and Youdell concluded that much of the conflict between white teachers and black pupils stems from the racial stereotypes teachers hold, rather than the pupils' actual behaviour.

This may explain the higher level of exclusions from school of black boys.

Similarly, Peter Foster (1990) found that teachers' stereotypes of black pupils as badly behaved could result in them being placed in lower sets than pupils of similar ability. Both exclusions and allocation to lower sets are likely to lead to lower levels of achievement.

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Cecile Wright

Cecile Wright's (1992) study of a multi-ethnic primary school:

Found that despite the school's apparent commitment to equal opportunities, teachers held ethnocentric views - they took for granted that British culture and Standard English were superior.

This affected how they related to Asian pupils. For example, teachers assumed they would have a poor grasp of English and exluded them from class discussions or used simplistic, childish language when speaking to them.

Asian pupils also felt isolated when teachers expressed disapproval of their customs or mispronounced their names. 

In general, teachers saw them not as a threat (unlike black pupils) but as a problem they could ignore. The effect was that Asian pupils, especially the girls, were marginalised - pushed to the edges and prevented from participating fully. 

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Pupil Responses and Subcultures

Mary Fuller's (1984) study of a group of black girls in year 11 of a London comprehensive school. The girls were untypical because:

  • They were high achievers in a school where most black girls were placed in low streams.
  • Instead of accepting negative stereotypes of themselves, they channelled their anger into the pursuit of educational success.
  • They did not seek the approval of teachers, many of whom they regarded as racist.
  • They conformed only as far as the schoolwork was concerned.

The study highlights two important points:

  • Firstly, pupils may still succeed when they refuse to conform.
  • Secondly, negative labelling does not always lead to failure. These girls were able to reject the labels placed on them and they remained determined to succeed. There was no self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Sewell: Variety of Boys' Responses

Sewell (1998) examines the strategies and responses pupils' adopt to cope with racism. He identifies four ways the boys responded to racist stereotyping:

The Rebels

  • Small minority of black pupils
  • often excluded from school
  • rejected both goals and rules of school -  expressed opposition through peer group membership, conforming to the stereotype of the 'black macho lad'.

The conformists

  • Largest group
  • Keen to succeed - accepted school's goals, anxious to avoid being stereotped by teachers.

The Retreatists

  • Tiny minority of isolated individuals, disconnected from both school and black subcultures

The Innovators

  • Second largest group - pro-education but anti-school 
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The Ethnocentric Curriculum

The term 'ethnocentric' describes an attitude or policy that gives priority to the culture and viewpoint of one particular ethnic group while disregarding others.

Troyna and Williams (1986) describe the curriculum in British schools as ethnocentric because it gives priority to white culture and the English language. 

Similarly, Miriam David (1993) describes the National Curriculum as a 'specifically British' curriculum that teaches the culture of the 'host community', while largely ignoring non-European languages, literature, and music.

Stephen Ball (1994) criticises the NC for ignoring cultural and ethnic diversity and for promoting an attitude of 'little Englandism'. For example the history curriculum tries to recreate a 'mythical age of empire and past glories', while ignoring the history of black and Asian people.

Bernard Coard (1971) Explains how the Ethnocentric Curriculum may produce underachivement. For example, in history the British are presented as bringing civilisation to the 'primitive' peoples they colonised. This image of black people as inferior undermines black children's self-esteem and leads to their failure.

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Educational Social Policy

Why do we have educational policies?

  • To ensure that education remains of a good standard
  • To ensure that educational standards are competetive
  • To prevent risk factors damaging educational chances, such as gender, class & ethnicity.
  • To ensure that getting a place at school is not impacted upon by, gender, class or ethnicity.

Such policies have focussed on the idea that every child, regardless of gender, disability, social class and ethnicity should have an equal chance to do well. 

Gillborn and Youdell: 4 aims of policies to improve equality of opportunity in access to education

  • Equality of access - every child should have the same right to access education. No unfair social selection, no better schools in middle class areas.
  • Equality of circumstance - children should be of a similar socio-economic staus when they start school.
  • Equality of participation - Everybody should have an equal footing at school
  • Equality of outcome - Everybody can share in the benefits of schooling 
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Educational Social Policy 2: the tripartite system

The Tripartite System 

  • 1944: Introduced free secondary education for all, to remove inequalities in access (previously would've had to buy secondary education).
  • Introduced 3 types of school (Grammar, technical, and secondary modern); based on research there was a belief that everybody had a different ability level that was fixed by the age of 11. This was measured by the 11+ test.

Selection by the 11+ exam- 

Grammar schools - those who passed 11+, 15-20%, traditional subjects taught, UPPER/MIDDLE CLASS

Technical colleges - Failed 11+, vocational education. Few built. LOWER MIDDLE/SKILLED MANUAL WORKING CLASS

Secondary modern - Failed 11+, basic education, 75-80%, WORKING CLASS.

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