New Right: Views on the role of education


New Right: Views on the role of education

  • Individuals should be free to make their own choices about their education.
  • They favour the marketisation of education.

Similarities to Functionalism:

  • They believe that some people are more talented than others
  • Education should serve the needs of the economy by preparing young people for work, and also they believe education should be based on meritocracy.
  • Education should address the needs of employers and industry and should socialise pupils into shared norms and values.


  • The New Right do not believe that the current education system is achieving this and the reason for this is that it is being run by the state (it should be given to the private sector)
  • Because the government controls the schools, the students and parents have no real say in how the schools should be; therefore the New Right favour the idea of a marketisation of education, or 'creating an educational market'
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Evaluation of the New Right perspective

  • Middle Class parents are more able to manipulate the system and use their cultural capital to get the best education for their children.
  • Ball et al - the middle class are mainly going to benefit from parental choice.
  • Schools want to appear successful in league tables so over-subscribed schools may select the best pupils, leaving others to attend less successful schools. Also in order to get the best results, the teachers may end up 'teaching the test' and ignoring the broader education of their pupils.
  • The real cause for differences in school performance may be social inequality and inadequate funding.

Key words:

  • Marketisation - education has become more market like. There is greater choice and opportunities available now. These include elements such as league tables, OFSTED, the National Curriculum and different schools (faith, private, specialist etc.) 
  • Meritocracy - everyone has an equal chance and starts in the same place.
  • Cultural Capital - cultural skills passed on by middle-class parents to their children to give them educational advantages.
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