Sociology - Education (G673) continued.

  • Created by: SophieMae
  • Created on: 06-06-14 15:43

Education & Economy - Vocationalism - New Right

  • Introduced new vocationalism in the 1980s as employers felt that there was not a good fit between education and the world of work.
  • Complained that students were not equipped for the world of work/economy.
  • Wanted to see a more direct link/relationship between schools and workplace.
  • Thatcher gov't introduced initiatives to help and hoped it would provide transferable skills.
  • Two ways:
    • In schools and colleges vocational qualifications were introduced (e.g. NVQ, GNVQ, BTEC). BUT not as valued as academic qualifications and seen for being for the less able. Also, it took a long time for them to be understood by employers.
    • For those who had left school youth training programmes were introduced (e.g. YTS, modern apprenticeships).
1 of 13

Educ & Economy - Vocationalism - New Right cont.

  • Finn - did not teach transferable skills as most young people were involved in low paid, low skilled work and exploited by employers = cheap pool of labour. Real purpose was to manipulate unemployment figures.
  • Thompson - provide cheap pool of labour for capitalism.
  • Finn - rejected idea that school-leavers are not employable as 75% of school-leavers already have part time jobs so do have experience.
  • Cohen - schemes are a form of social closure. Teaches behavourial etiquette and created a set of attitudes that made young people easily exploited workers.
  • Green - supports Cohen - skills were basic and related to unskilled, insecure, low paid jobs in retail sector rather than craft skills.
  • Clarke & Willis - kept them in suspended animation.
  • Green - legitimates traditional class divisions because they are based on idea that the MC should be educated and WC should be trained in basic vocational skills.
2 of 13

Education & Economy - Vocationalism - New Labour

  • Continued vocational education with New Right philosophy of  link between school and  work.
  • Curriculum 2000 - introduced vocational A levels to replace GNVQ and raise profile and status so they were not seen as second best to A levels. Key skills - literacy, numeracy and ICT alongside KS3, 4 and qualifications.
  • Vocational GCSEs - not as valued as traditional GCSEs by MC, taken mostly by WC. BUTgives those of lesser ability chance of success and feeling of self-worth. BUT surveys suggest that 2/3rds of employers see little value in these qualifications. DeWaal - do not teach vocational skills of any use, they are of little value in the outside world.
  • Diplomas - wanted more to stay on post 16 and to provide vocationally relevant courses BUT seen as second best to traditional A levels, taken mostly by WC, reinforces class divisions (Lees et al), not accepted by top unis (Hoelscher). Much training is of a poor quality (Evans). Report 2010 - take up was poor, critics argued that it was rushed into schools, few materials for teachers, success rate poor.
  • New Deal for Young People - provided educ, training, voluntary work or subsidised jobs for unemployed young. Aimed to reduce unemploment amongs 18-24yr olds who had been claiming Jobseekers Allowance for over 6 months. New Labour claimed it was a success but critics argue that reduction due to improved economy not programme. Failed to find lasting jobs and failed to help most disadvantaged (Tomlinson). McKnight claimed that NDYP raised youth unemployment by 17000 per year. 
3 of 13

Education & Economy - Vocationalism - Coalition

  • New Studio Schools - 14-19 institutions with an entrepreneurial and vocationsl focus, for students of all abilities who are disengaged by an entirely academic curriculum, students spend part of their week working in businesses, with older students receiving payment, getting them ready for the world of work while gaining credible qualificaitons.
  • UTCs - academies for 14-19yr olds, technical education that meets the needs of modern employers.
  • Eval - too soon to evaluate.
  • Youth Contract - firms given over £2,000 for each young unemployed person hired so that a generation do not fall behind and bear brunt of recession. BUT critics say that it has the hallmarks of the YTS in 1980s - concerns about firms securing cheap labour and that companies will 'churn' out young workers, replacing those subsidised by taxpayers with new recruits once the gov't payments end. BUT - Senior Coaltion sources insisted that businesses were committed to finding long-term work for young applicants.
4 of 13

Gender & Attainment - Outside School Factors

  • Mitsos & Browne - changes in labour market
    • Girls - Increase in service sector jobs - Bell - post industrialisation. More opportunities for girls so this has increased incentives to gain qualifications and so focus more in school. Prosser - feminisation of workforce/place.
    • Boys - Decrease in manual labour jobs, especially WC. See no prospect of work and so do not try at school - M&B - loss of motivation. WC boys vulnerable and insecure, may feel that they are failing as breadwinners - Mac an Ghail/Tolson - crisis of masculinity. Lacey - develop a subculture of failure. Wragg - pessimism about world of work and declining job prospects has permeated through to the primary school playground = lack of motivation from a very young age. BUT many of the jobs that have been cut were semi/low skilled and filled by people with no qualification so the loss of these jobs shouldn't have had as large an impact.
  • Changes in attitudes of girls - Sharpe - between 70s and 90s girls' priorites had changed - mother/housewife to endorsing the idea of having a career. Wilkinson - similar results = 'genderquake'. Francis - girls' career aspirations required academic success (e.g. doctor), boys lower aspirations (e.g. footballer). Francis & Skelton - girls looking forward to job which required high level qualifications = trying harder. BUT still glass ceiling (Segal).
5 of 13

Gender & Attainment - Outside School cont.

  • Changing attitudes of parents - traditionally parents favoured thier sons and would be more likely to send them to top or maybe private schools if possess economic capital (Putnam). BUT today more parents see the prospects for their daughters and encourage them to fulfill thier potential. Esp today with 1 in 3 marriages ending in divorce - parents want daughters to have a good career where they can support themselves. Beck - risk and uncertainty has led to parents wanting their daughters to be self sufficient and self reliant.
  • Leisure activities
    •  Girls - leisure supports the curriculum. Hannan - girls relate by talking - linguistic skills - schoolwork needs good comprehension and writing skills. McRobbie & Garner - 'bedroom culture' - girls read and talk to one another - encourage verbal skills. Book Marketing Ltd - girls 3x more likely to borrow a book from the library and from the age of 6 girls read more than boys = adv - boys have less opportunities to develop linguistic skills.
    • Boys - more likely to play football and computer games than read - reading seen as feminine. Kirby - computer games do little to improve language skills and that family discussion at meal times has been replaced by TV and DVDs giving boys less time to catch up with girls' language skills. Gareth Malone doc (2011) - "no book could replace [his] xbox".
6 of 13

Gender & Attainment - Inside School Factors

  • Attitudes towards schoolwork/coursework/exams
    • Girls - Gray & McLellan - girls more positive towards school work. Burns & Bracey - this means they are prepared to draft and redraft assignments and coursework. M&B - more motivated, organised and conscientious. Can sustain efforet over period of time. Many claim that girls only do better due to coursework BUT Myhill - English much of the assessment is unseen papers and girls are still outperforming boys. M&B - by the age of 16 girls are up to 2 years more mature and therefore take exams far more seriously.
    • Boys - less motivated. M&B/Licht & Dweck - highlighted that boys overestimate thier ability and so may be over confident and not work hard enough for exams. Also, claimed that this leads to boys blaming others for their failure whereas girls personalise = try harder. BUT Francis - today boys are not as confident as they believe girls to be more able. Warrington & Younger - boys would rather not try at all than try and fail.
  • Teachers' attitudes
    •  Girls - More likely to fit the concept of the ideal pupil so seen as hard working etc and encouraged to do well. Impact of feminists such as Stanworth and Spender = girls and boys given equal time and attention. BUT Francis - girls still do not get as much time and attention due to boys' disruptive behaviour.
    • Boys - M&B - more lax with boys, tolerate a lower standard of work and allow deadlines to be missed. More likely to be excluded from school = gaps in knowledge and understanding. BUT Sivandan - these boys are the very ones who should be kept in school and made to work.
7 of 13

Gender & Attainment - Inside School cont.

  • Anti-school subcultures - often formed by boys who do not want to work hard at school as many of them are afraid or being called nerds or swots by the peer group (Francis).Also, Frosh - boys who identified with academic values labelled as 'gay' because commitment to school work seen as 'feminine' by male peer group. Willis - 12 working class boys, rejected the ethos of the school. BUT small sample so is not representative. Also, decline in manual jobs may mean WC more education orientated today. BUT M&B - culture of masculinity still encourages boys to appear macho and deviant. Lacey - boys subscribe to subculture of failure. Also, girls too do adopt laddish behaviour and reject ethos of school - Jackson.
  • Feminine culture in primary schools
    • Girls - M&B - educ and reading seen as a feminine activity as primary school teachers are overwhelmingly female. Mainly mums who help with reading etc so girls are happy to engage with this.
    • Boys - see educ and reading as feminine and 'uncool' so fail to engage with it. Wragg - see reading as femine and so do not get involved putting them at a disadvantage. Buchanan - found that when fathers get involved in reading and homework boys attainment improves. Supported by Gareth Malone docBUT BMRB - only 12% of fathers do.
8 of 13

Ethnicity & Attainment - Cultural Factors

  • Linked to the values of the home.
  • Language - if English is not the first language then this may affect attainment of some ethnic minority pupils due to the lack of help they are limited to out of school. BUT Swann Report - found that by the age of 16 Asians were as competent as English students. Clarke - those who have come from rural areas (in Bangladesh) may find it harder to learn in English as it is not as commonplace as other areas. Modood - language only likely to be a temporary barrier - Indians have been here for some time and are doing well at school.
  • Values - value placed on education (Hyman) - MC ethnic groups may do better due to higher expectations compared to WC. Driver & Ballard -  some Asian families place strong emphasis on education and were prepared to make sacrifices to ensure the success of their children. Swann Report -  Asian family structure was more tight-knit than AC and some whties and so may be responsible for higher achievement. Pryce - study in Bristol described family life as 'turbulent' BUT found that many were concerned about the children's education. Tizzard - white and black parents equally supportive of children, argument of less supportive AC family = myth.
9 of 13

Ethnicity & Attainment - Cultural Factors cont.

  • Religious values - may affect value placed on educ and encourage increased quals and achievement. Sikhs - skills and educational achievement ehhance status. Hindus - advocates high standards of education among the higher castes. BUT attachment of AC to Rastafarianism may be source of friction and misunderstanding with teacher. Archer & Francis - cultural factors explain the success of British Chinese - part of their identity - parents place high value on educ - support children with time and money and push their children - tiger mothers.
  • Religious commitment - time off school for religious festivals etc. For example, Muslims and Eid. Gaps in knowledge and understanding. Myth of Return (Bolognani) - idea that one day they will return so children have to stay in touch with culture of origin - some PB may take extended time off to visit family in Pakistan BUT Smith & Tomlinson and more recently, Youth Cohort Study - many ethnic minority children are staying on post 16 so indicates that most do place high value on education.
  • Peer group - can have a significant influence. Sewell - black boys had a shared culture of cool indifference to school work, which came from their defencsive attempt to preserve what they perceived as thier threatened manhood.
  • BUT arguing that failing ethnic minorities are culturally deprived helps to scapegoat these groups - victim blaming theory which makes them responsible. Distracts attention from the education system and those who control it.  
10 of 13

Ethnicity & Attainment - Material Factors

  • Linked to income of the home - those in higher social classes tend to have higher inocme and so can 'buy' better education for children - link to Smith & Noble.
  • Poverty - significant factor in attainment of ethnic group - those in WC and underclass (white WC, PB, AC) tend to do less well. Equal Opportunities Commission - showed that ethnic minorites were over represented amongst the poorest groups in society. Platt - poverty stems from a variety of factors like low qualifications, discrimination in the workplace and limited savings - results in poorer health, overcrowding, poorer diet, limited choices in educ.
  • Reid - ethnic differences in achievement may well be due to class or class in combination with ethnicity.
  • Swann Report - poverty probably explains about 50% of AC underachievement.
  • Rutter et al - low incomes = work long, unsociable hours, less time helping kids with schoolwork.
  • Demack et al - those ethnic groups with the lowest attainment - PB and blacks have the largest % of people in the lowest social classes.
11 of 13

Ethnicity & Attainment - Inside School Factors

  • Although teachers and pupils may not intend to be racist, there are often practices and attitudes, which can limit the achievement of some people of Asian and AC origin.
  • Ethnocentric curriculum - Coard & Mason both point to the way the curricuum is British based and delivered in English - ignores black perspectives and devalues their history etc - leads them to have low opinion of themselves and this contributes to their failure. BUT today there have been changes in the curriculum.
  • Labelling and self fulfilling prophecy (Becker) - Green - some teachers favoured white boys. Teachers have lower expectations of AC pupils, failed to encourage them as much. Teachers claimed there were slow learners, lack concentration, less well behaved. Brittain - teachers have stereotypical views of ethnic minorities, often perceived black children as having low ability and discipline problem. Wright - staff committed to the ideals of 'equality of opportunity' but despite this there is considerable discrimination in classroom. Asian girls seemed 'invisible to teachers' but there was still some measure of success expected. AC - expectations of bad behaviour and boys had disproportionate amount of negative attentions. Gillborn - actions of AC students as a threat where non intended, conflict with teachers. BUT small study and so cannot generalise but does give a sense of issues.
  • BUT label doesn't always stick - Fuller's black girls set out to prove teachers wrong. BUT Foster et al - from their critique of all the main research data has not proved conclusively that racism exists 'beyond reasonable doubt'. Concludes that 'ethnic minority students enjoyed equal opportunities with their white peers.   
12 of 13

Ethnicity & Attainment - Inside School cont.

  • Setting - Gillborn & Youdell - ethnic minorities discriminated in terms of setting and exam entry. Setting widespread today in modern comprehensives - Gillborn - the first to suffer will be students of ethnic minority and/or working class background. Lower sets = access to less parts of syllabus and lower tiered papers etc.
  • Exclusion - evidence suggest that AC pupils have highest permanent exclusion rates due to racism and teachers seeing them as aggressive, disruptive and undermining authority (Bourne). Also says that AC are more likely to experience frustrations of racism and poverty. BUT Sewell does not blame schools for instituional racism, says it is due to 'poor parenting, peer-group pressure and an inability to be responsible for their own behaviour'.
  • BUT Smith & Tomlinson also noted racial tolerance and lack of antagonism in schools. Ofsted showed that exclusion for Indian, Bangladeshi and Chinese pupils was lower that that for whites per 1000 people.
13 of 13


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Education resources »