Sociology Unit 1

Sociology: Studying society, Family and Education

The basics

Primary socialisation - Takes place in the family and how they have influenced you.

Secondary socialisation - Between friends or anyone/thing outside of the family.

Morals and values:

  • Everyone has a sense of right and wrong,
  • We start learning morals and values from the moment we are born,
  • Morals are our principles,
  • Values are our ideas that influence behaviour based on beliefs, culture and experiences.

Role conflict - Roles do not fit together and clash with other roles we are expected to play.

Gender roles:

Boys - More dominant, commanding, Blue, fighters, Power, dirty, interest in cars

Girls- Cook, weaker sex, caring, gossip, Pink, can't fight, vulnerable, ****, bad drivers.

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Poverty and the Welfare state

Essential items needed to survive: Food, water, Shelter/warmth, Sanitation

Poverty - When people don't even have the basic essentials needed to survive

Effects of poverty: No money for luxuries, Depression, 1 meal a day, Eating bad food as can't afford good food eg veg.

Poverty is a social issue around the world but also in the UK

Common concerns in society: Inequality, poverty, discimination, pollution, crime

Social issues - Looking for solutions  and getting involved in discussions 

Hierarchy of needs (Draw image

Culture of poverty - People blame the poor arguing if they try harder they could get themselves out of poverty. Others argue that being poor gives lots of disadvantages meaning it's very difficult to change the situation. As a result, the poor think they will never get themselves out of poverty (Culture of poverty).

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Poverty continued

Cycle of poverty - Unemployed or low wage --> Poor housing--> Poor food-->

Poor health--> Lack of educational opportunities.

The problem with the cycle of poverty theory is that it doesn't explain why or how people get poor.

People concerned with making poverty a social issue:

The poor - but they're too powerless to do anything about it.

The government - Need to provide a safety net for poor people.

Pressure groups and charities - try to make the government change things for the better.

Absolute poverty - The very minimum people need to survive. Do not have basic necessities.

Relative poverty - Cannot afford things their community takes for granted, as part of normal life (TV)

Consensual poverty - Group of people decide what it means to be poor. People agree on a definition of poverty.

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Poverty continued...

Social exclusion - To be so poor that you're shut out of or excluded from what most people expect in society e.g. having a job.

Long term unemployment - Where people have been unemployed for a long time and it may not change. Becoming an increasing issue, sociologists believe this is the most significant cause of poverty.

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We rely on the media to inform us of what is going on in society outside of our local area. We also use local news to find out what's going on in our area.

The media feeds us information but they choose what information to tell us.

The media is selective in what they tell us and only highlight the social issues that would interest readers/listeners.

Moral panics - The idea of moral panics was introduced by Stan Cohen after studying fights between mods and rockers. He found that the media made the problem worse by over-reporting the trouble to make it sound worse.

Examples of moral panics

Terrorism, knife crime, drugs, teenage pregnancy, mugging, ****.

Mention British crime survey.

A victimized survey- survey carried out on the victim.

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Social structure

All societies are built up of different parts and are all organized in the same way.

All of the essential parts of society have a job to perform and they all fit together to hold society together.

Everyone plays different parts in their society.

Measuring social class:

Social class scales usually use occupation to decide where to place you.

It can be informally judged  by the way we talk, what we wear, our hobbies, appearance etc.

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Structured interviews :

Strengths - More depth than postal questionnaire,  easy to repeat (reliable), Easy, quick, efficient at contacting large numbers of people, formal relationship between interviewer and interviewee, no worry about response rates.

Weaknesses - Time consuming, quality depends on questions asked, high cost, lots of planning required, depth of answers may be limited, interview bias.

Unstructured interviews:

Strengths - More like a conversation (relaxed), permits full exploration of beliefs and ideas, maximum flexibility for pursuing questioning where appropriate.

Weaknesses - Time consuming, interviewer must build trust with interviewee, can be difficult to analyse data as it may be unorganized.

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Interviews and observations

The interviewer effect:

Appearance, body language and the way a room is set up will have an effect on the interview. Interviewers are trained to keep these outside effects to a minimum but there will always be judgments made by both the interviewer and interviewee.

Longitudinal study - an in-depth study that takes place over a long period of time.

  • Advantage - lots of in-depth information can be found out
  • Disadvantage - Researcher may go 'native' (part of the group)

Triangulation - Where a combination of research methods are used.

Valid data -data that is correct and truthful.

Participant observation - Observer joins in.

Non-participant observation - Researcher stays separate.

Covert participant observation - Researcher joins in the group without letting them know they are a researcher. (Ethical problem - group is deceived) 

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Strengths and limitations of PO and CPO

Strengths of overt PO

Researcher can see people in their natural surroundings, researcher can see things from the groups perspective, deeper understanding of group.

Limitations of overt PO

Hard to gain trust, take a long time, observer effect, unique - conclusions are different.

Strengths of Covert PO

See things from groups point of view, see people in natural surroundings, hidden cameras can provide accurate real-time footage, gain information from groups who don't usually want to be interviewed

Limitations of Covert PO

Difficult to gain trust, rely on memory lots, may take a long time, hard to repeat, unique- hard to keep conclusions.

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Secondary data

Secondary data - called this because it is second-hand.

Official statistics are a good source because they collect information on Tex, Census, Birth and Death rates, Marriage and Divorce rates, Suicide rates, Unemployment rates, Crime rates.

Census - normally good but some people may not respond eg, Students, immigrants, homeless people, asylum seekers, benefit fraud comitters, health issues or learning difficulties. Homeless people/tramps also wont be included because they have no fixed address. 

Errors - People lie, mistakes, Coding errors, incomplete information.

Census questions - Tenure (rent/own), no of rooms, cars, sex, DOB, marital status, health, education, working hours, ethnic group, qualifications.

Other surveys - General household survey (health and family), Labor force survey, British crime survey.

Social trends - Lifestyle, income and wealth, expenditure, population.

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Official statistics and other secondary data


Some statistics are 'hard' (Cannot be manipulated such as birth or death rates), may be the only source of statistics available, allows sociologists to complete before and after study, allows identifications of trends, easy and cheap to access, large amounts of data, useful for background research, covers many different aspects of social life, allows much larger scale research.


Geared towards what the government wants to find out, quantitative data(not in-depth), hard to verify the validity, statistics may be 'soft'(can be manipulated such as marital/divorce rates), don't provide the full picture, socially constructed(influenced by people), taken as fact when they aren't always.

Qualitative secondary data

Documentaries, autobiographies, photographs, novels, mass media, case studies.

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Qualitative and quantitative secondary data

Qualitative secondary data - recorded by someone else using language and words.

Advantages - May provide useful background info, may be a valuable resource, helps research different cultures, helps the researcher get a feel for their research, supplements primary data.

Limitations - May be forged, contents may not be true, might be biased, could be mis-interpreted, may have been written for a specific audience.

Qualitative and quantitative secondary data 

Similarity - Both recorded by somebody other than the researcher

Difference - Quantitative = Numbers/statistics. 

                      Qualitative = Words and language (detailed)

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Case study                                                                  Laboratory experiment

Closed Question/Open question                             Focus group

Sampling Frame                                                         Hawthorne effect

Snowball sample                                       Hypothesis

Random sample                          Informal Interview

Quota sample                                                             Structured interview

Stratified sample                       Longitudinal study

Cluster sample                   Pilot study

Correlatation           Reliability                          Validity

Covert                           Triangulation                   Variable                                Field experiment          Pilot study              Self completion questionnaire

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Ethical practice

In order to protect participants the researcher needs to make sure that:

  • The participants have given consent.
  • Information remains anonymous
  • Information is kept private and confidential

Covert research isn't ethical because it doesn't do the points above as it is a secret. For this reason, it should not occur unless absolutely necessary.

Ethical issues concerning children

  • Children may not understand what is going on
  • May be too young to give consent (parents involved)
  • Children may be distressed or anxious.

Sociology's contribution to social policy

Social policies are sets of plans and actions put into place by governments to solve social problems. Research by sociologists can be used to justify why a government is introducing new policies or challenging a new law.

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What is a family?

Narrow definition - refers to a group consisting of 2 partners and their dependent children who all live together; this is based on blood ties.

However, there are many different types of families that do not fit into this definition.

Family diversity - means there are many different types of families and so it is more useful to use the term 'families' rather than 'the family'.

Types of family:

Households-group of unrelated people living in the same accommodation

Nuclear families - Consists of mother, father, dependent children. 2 generations living in the same house, parents maybe married or cohabiting. 

Lone/single parent families - Consists of 1 parent and their dependent children

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Family types continued...

Gay/lesbian families- a same sex couple living together with an adopted child or child from a surrogate mother.

Step/reconstituted family - couple where at least one (usually the male) is from a previous relationship (now divorced), but may have a child/children from their previous relationship. May have child with new partner too.

Extended family- 3 generations living under 1 roof (grandparents, parents, children).

Modified extended family - Not living under the same roof but still close and in contact daily.

Empty shell family - couple live together but  lead separate lives.

Empty nest family - child left home. Parents feel alone.

Child carer family - child cares for parent due to illness or mental problem.

Matrifocal family - Mother in charge of family (same for patriarchy but vice versa)

Cereal packet family - nuclear family that is perfect (advertised on TV) 

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Family and family in history

The life course - People who live in different family and household settings depending on their situation. It's not unusual for a person to experience 5 or more different types of families or households in their lifetime.

Features of a neo-conventional nuclear family

This is the new, more common type of family. This is where the couple are cohabiting and are both breadwinners. The couple share domestic tasks rather than having specific gender roles. Because of the recession children live at home longer and an elderly population means that elderly relatives may also live in the family home.

The industrial revolution

When people went from living in the countryside in extended families to working further away from home because of new machinery. Pre-industrial revolution people did everything themselves (grew food, make clothes) but as the industrial revolution hit people went to work in factories and nuclear families became more common.

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Family in history continued...

Victorian era

At this time there were 3 different classes - upper, middle, and working.

Upper class was anybody born rich who inherit wealth from their parents. Usually didn't have to work for a living. Would just go to dances, social events and feasts. 

Middle class anyone who earned a living but were still rich, some even as rich as the upper class. Had jobs such as lawyers/doctors.

Working class - anybody who did manual labour and barely earned enough to live.

Why change happened

Demands of the economy meant trained, reliable workers were needed. Government were pressurised to set up schools and hospitals to improve education and sanitation and access to nutritional food. Religion had a large influence over the population through its connection to charities.

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History of family continued...

1950's (Recovering from the war)

Nuclear families were ideal after the war and were considered the perfect family. Gender roles began to develop at this time. Male=breadwinner. Female=Housewife There still remained working class families struggling to survive. They had to rely on neighbours, or communities and wider families. Then came the welfare state.

This was where the government set up housing estates, provided more schools, surgeries, eye tests, dentistry, benefits for disabled or unemployed. 

In a perfect family the wife was expected to cook, clean, and look after the children whilst the father would go out to work. The daughter should help the mother when she got back from school but the son should do homework and look after 'junior'.

Freedom of 1960's

Time of huge changes which included the rebel against the idea of a 'perfect family'. People campaigned for freedom, different ideas in fashion, different styles of music etc.

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Freedom of 1960's continued...

This would have had a huge effect on family life in terms of relationships, government legislation and attitudes towards family life. The freedom also led on to the hippy culture. Also contraception was introduced meaning people could explore more sexually because they didn't have to worry about becoming pregnant. Women also became more powerful and more women went to university and weren't just studying cookery/sewing. Respect for soldiers was partially lost because people no longer wanted wars, they just wanted peace. Compared to the 1950's families were much more free; men were no longer in charge as women wanted an equal role. The 1950's started:

  • Women's liberation - (Feminist movement) Women wanted equal rights
  • Contraception - Gave women sexual freedom
  • Abortion - Became legal, gave women more control
  • Divorce - Laws became easier, people didn't criticise 
  • Cult of the individual - People cared more about themselves.
  • Drug culture - masses of people had access to cannabis/mind-altering drugs
  • Appreciation of diversity - People noticed there were different ethnic groups.
  • Globalisation - Travel opportunities expanded.
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Freedom of the 1960's continued...

Meritocracy - Get by on own efforts. Everyone has an equal chance.

World peace - People wanted an end to wars (world peace)

End to poverty - People concerned about other people in other areas (Vietnam)

Breaking down barriers of a rigid class society - People changed classes (mobile) and mixed with people from other classes

What stayed in our society

Capitalism - an economic system in which everything is run by 1 person/business

Discrimination - Treating people more unfairly than others because they're different

Class system - People still divided by money/jobs

Rich/poor world divide - divisions between LEDC's and MEDC's.

Poverty, war, inequality, dissatisfaction, insecurity, breakdown of society, family life.

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Family in history continued...

Family in the 1970's

Feminism became much better known; was taught about in schools/read about in books. Women had jobs in business, politics and education and there was the first women PM (Margaret Thatcher). Hippy culture phased out and people cared more for the environment. Economic recession led to unemployment and weaker trade unions. Energy crisis began because of a shortage of oil and electrical supplies. Music was also introduced such as punk, pop, colour TV's and computers.

Family in the 1980's

Falklands war. People now had kettles, toasters, microwaves, camcorders, disposable nappies. End of the 80's saw internet, telephone usage, channel 4, mobiles, computers, 3d video games. New music - Hip-hop, rap, new romantics. People could now also get mortgages and government businesses were privatised. Also the introduction of credit cards.

Family in the 1990's

Peace in N Ireland, living standards improved, terrorism, DVD's and consoles were popular, Tattoo's and piercings, Step families, environmental concerns.

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Conjugal roles within the family

Conjugal roles refers to the roles within the home

Symmetrical family where both partners share the roles equally

Domestic division is how the tasks are divided.

Conjugal roles and domestic division of labour

Domestics division of labour is how the tasks are divided but conjugal roles are which tasks the partners do according to their gender.

Up to the 1960's conjugal roles were segregated (Unequal/separate)

Working class women - Childcare, housework, earn money (double burden)

Middle class women - Not expected to take on paid employment. Supervise work of household staff.

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People's studies

Young and Willmott (1973)

Researched the symmetrical family and found that there was more equality between partners. Though they didn't do the same tasks, they were divided equally. They also found that they were more home-centred. 

Why the symmetrical family came about

Rise of feminism, more effective contraception (families could be planned), paid employment meant women were more financially independent, increase in home life.

Ann Oakley (1974) disagreed with this saying men liked to 'Cherry pick' jobs.

Caroline Gatrell (2005) found that many fathers today play a greater role in their child's lives. She noted though that some women were angry that traditional roles were being eroded. She concluded that if men wanted to spend more time with their children then they should do more domestic labour.

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Crisis of masculinity and Domestic Violence

Sociologists have argued that men are lost as to what their role should be because...

  • Women have jobs so don't have to rely on men.
  • Women are more assertive and so do not kneel down to men any more.
  • Ladettes rival lads.
  • Rise of feminism.
  • Men do not get custody of children in a divorce.

Domestic violence

In the past, police or others around were reluctant to helping out or interfering with domestic violence.

Child abuse - Lots of children would tell their mums but the mums were usually too afraid to face their husbands so nothing would be done about it.

It is now handled much better because of things such as child-line.

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Domestic Violence continued...

Attitudes towards domestic violence has also changed.

Police got re-trained so they can get involved with helping domestic crime cases.

It used to be acceptable for men to beat their wives but now partners are expected to be equal.

Most women killed by violence are killed by members of family not strangers.

Domestic violence can be made worse by recession.

Domestic violence differs as a result of class/ethnic group. (Same for Child abuse).

Less women than men cause domestic abuse.

It used to be in a man's conjugal rights to beat his wife. 8 years ago it was made illegal.

Women's Aid Federation and Women's refuge are groups that help women suffering from domestic violence.

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Domestic Violence continued...

People most vulnerable are those aged between 16-24.

1 in 6 men suffer from some form of domestic violence at some points in their lives.

Men in England and Wales aged between 20-24 are just as likely to suffer from domestic violence as women of the same age and country.

Male domestic violence

In recent years, more and more men have been reporting domestic violence (numbers have dramatically increased). Some people think the same amount of males are suffering but they have only recently admitted to it. Only recently men's refuge homes have opened.

British crime survey indicates that domestic violence often goes unreported because: People are scared, embarrassed, don't think they'd be believed, could be imprisoned so can't tell anyone, think it wont happen again, believe they're in the wrong.

Any increase of domestic violence may be because of increased reporting rather than an actual increase in occurrence.

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How relationships have changed over time

19th century

Children's experiences varied depending on Class, age and gender.

Middle class children were often looked after by a nanny/paid employee.

Working class children, especially boys were expected to work from an early age.

Workhouse or the nanny!

In the past their was a lack of social mobility.

It was almost completely unlikely for someone to move class.

Because of this children had a very polarised experience with nothing in between.

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Children's lives


Poverty prevented many parents from sending their children to school.

In the 20th century, working class parents saw schools as a barrier to their child's paid employment.

Only churches provided charity schools.

Many parents 'shipped' their children off to work as early as possible.

Children's lives in the past

Children had very difficult lives in the past compared to what they are now. There was a massive difference between working class and middle class children.

Education act (1918) - All children had to attend school till age 14. It was because of this that childhood was seen as a separate stage of life. Young and Willmott argued it was only then that children were treated differently to adults.

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Childhood is seen as stages that must be completed in order to move on to adulthood. If one of these stages is missed out then it is seen that the child has not been given the chance for effective socialisation to take place. This means they may have problems in their adult life.

Contemporary childhood

Children are now much more expensive than they used to be. And parents are made to feel guilty if they can't afford what their child wants (latest gadgets/toys).

Pester power is when children pester parents for things. They are being targeted by advertisers. There are now campaigns to try and stop pester power.

Contemporary relationships

Children are regarded as important members of the family.

They are listened to and their views are taken seriously.

Children increasingly have rights and can contribute with with family decisions.

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Pryor and Trinder (2004)

They believed there were class differences in relationships between parents and children. Middle class families are more likely to involve children in decision making

(Contemporary) Child centred

Many adults do not have full time parenting as an option and so many young people are separated from their parents for most of the working week.

However, the average family size is smaller so children get more attention.

In the past, quality time was something that was never talked about. This is the idea that parents should make an effort to spend time with their children. They are judged by how much quality time they spend with them.

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How relationships have changed in the wider family

Wider family is any family member not living with you in your home.

Young and Willmott found that among the working class, the extended family flourished. They found that lots of young couples often lived with their parents and that their were particularly strong bonds between mums and daughters.

Geographical mobility - This affects the family because people move away from each other. This is possible because of modern transport and job opportunities. 

Why would people immigrate?

Job opportunities, Better quality of life, To see family who live there.

The wider family is now less important because people move around. However, mobiles and the internet have made communication easier and improvements in transport have also helped this.

Charles et al(2008) found that family members continued to depend on each other and that geographical mobility doesn't stop families supporting each other (especially financially). This happens more in MC families than WC families. 

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Other ties outside the family but act like family - friends.

The average grown up child costs parents £21500 after they've left home.

Contemporary law

Laws that change relationships - Children stay at school longer, can work part time, protected by law against child abuse, children's human rights are protected.

Young people are dependant on their family for longer and those going into higher education especially. Recession has caused unemployment for young people and it is now harder to buy a house and leave home.

Scott (2004) discussed how far children should be seen as dependant:

  • They may contribute to childcare and domestic labour within the home.
  • May provide emotional support to their parents at quite a young age.
  • Children immigrants may have to act as translators for their parents.
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Family related issues that are currently causing c

Teenage mother issue

Cause for concern in the media, they show teen mums in a negative light. The father usually disappears and leaves single parent family. Teenage mums are seen as a drain on society.

Child poverty

Child poverty bill was introduced to lower the amount of children living in poverty.

The government tackles child poverty by providing parents with child benefits or child tax credits until the child is 16.

Childhood obesity

Some people think it's because of poor parenting and the government only care on how much it will cost them, not the people themselves. Government program sure start wants better outcome for children by: increasing availability of childcare, improving health for children, giving more support towards employment, have a children's centre in every community (for children under 5)

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Is a key agency of socialisation and in our society we begin formal education at an increasingly younger age. 

School is formal education and England is one of the countries where children go to school at the earliest age (4).

Social control at school


Uniform, Punctuality, Attendance, Homework, Not swearing, Respect for teachers.


Peer pressure, Different friendship groups, How you move around school, Your appearance, Your cooperation. 

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What is learnt at school?

Formal curriculum - Lessons in timetable.

Hidden curriculum - Things you learn around school (Informal)

Hierarchy - Schools are hierarchical institutions with the headteacher with most responsibility and power at the top.

Competition - Schools encourage competition between students.

Gender role allocation - Boys and girls behave differently at school, teachers may have different expectations, may choose different subjects.

Different types of schools

State schools - Free, academies or comprehensive. 

Grammar schools - Free but students must pass exam. Not many left in UK

Private/public - Parents have to pay

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Types of schools continued...

Selective school - Students have to pass an exam/interview (Religious schools)

Free school - Parents run the school.

--> The government has varying amounts of power over each of these types of schools.

Why do we need schools?

  • Provides secondary socialisation. 
  • Form of social control. Children are in one place whilst parents work.
  • Teaches us skills we need to work.
  • Serves the economy.
  • Sorts which people get jobs (Achieved status)
  • Creates a feeling of belonging, Social cohesion, (Sticking together).

The socialisation role of education-Teaches norms and values, we learn a common culture, teaches us to accept rules and authority,learn sanctions.

Schools political role - Citizenship is taught and politics/being british.

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Bits about schools

Schools introduced by the tripartite system - Secondary schools.

11+ examinations - Bad because 11 is too young, there are lots of different types of development, language is biased for middle class children.

Meritocracy - The idea that everyone has an equal chance to do well at school.

The comprehensive system of education - Abolished 11+ exams meaning secondary students of any ability could attend the same type of school.

Comprehensives were seen as a good idea because it didn't reflect social class backgrounds and made the education system fairer.

Marxists only see education beneficial for groups.

Functionalists  see society as positive, they think education is good in sorting people into different jobs.

Education is not always positive: Its not inclusive and teaches you some useless things you'll never need in the workplace.

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Curriculum, Teaching styles and Social control

Hidden curriculum

How you get on with peers in and out of lessons, obeying rules and authority, different roles and expectations for boys or girls.

Formal curriculum - Core subjects, Tests and Assessments.

Hidden curriculum - Rules, Obedience, Routines, Dress code, Gender roles.

Teachers have a variety of teaching styles

Progressive - Interact with you, give in to demands, learn through film.

Traditional - Sticking to every rule, have no respect for students, use handouts.

Social control

Students form subcultures in schools - some obey rules, others don't (Anti-school subculture). Students learn to accept social control whilst at school.

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Achievement and competition

  • Schools value and reward individual achievement and hard work.
  • Work ethic - learn the values of work whilst at school. Work hard-Do well.
  • Students get competitive to earn higher rewards than one another.
  • In society there is competition for jobs and material possessions.
  • Competitions between schools to get the best exam results.
  • League tables are produced every year to show every schools results.

Do schools value the right intelligence?

There is now more than just a general intelligence because people have different skills. Sociologists have argued that lessons do not allow students to show all types of intelligence equally or fairly.

Streaming and setting - Pupils are often sorted into streams on the basis of their ability. They're sorted into sets on their ability in core subjects

Mixed ability classes are when pupils are put into classes randomly.

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Streaming and setting

Most teachers prefer teaching higher sets because those in lower sets tend to develop an anti-school subculture. They tend to expect less from these pupils.

This often reflects a social class divide between MC students in higher sets and WC students in lower sets.

Streams or sets - Get better results, go at a suitable pace, feel labelled, causes division, bad behaviour, low self esteem.

Mixed ability - everyone gets an equal chance, same resources, weaker students helped by better students, behaviour is better, more able pupils don't suffer.

The sets students get placed in tends to reflect social class.

How can students tell? How would they feel?

Even when schools are careful, students will know. They know by looking at peers, listening to teachers speed, materials covered, what teacher, teacher's attitude.

Students in lower groups would feel dumb and develop an anti-school subculture but those in higher sets would be proud but may feel pressure.

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Routine, Labelling and Gender role allocation

Routine - Schools have a very structured routine which is centred on timings. It means pupils know where they need to be and when. Essential skills for work.

Labelling - Treating someone or something as though they have a label.

This can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where a pupil will behave in the way they have been labelled. Peer groups apply labels to pupils as well as teachers.

Even though students are in the same uniform, how are they still labelled?

Their social class, how they act, how they wear uniform, how much make-up they wear, who their friends are.

Gender role allocation - The way you think you should behave because of your gender. The way teachers act towards boys and girls show they have different expectations, this affects what they achieve.

Boys - Lazier, disorganized, misbehave, learn by doing, active, restless, low concentration.

Girls - Passive, work harder, organized, quieter, like to read and write, nice.

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Gender gap and Marketisation

Boys and Girls choose different subjects.

Boys like Maths and IT but Girls like Biology and English.

Gender gap

  • There is legislation against sex discrimination at school.
  • Girls are going dramatically better at schools than girls in every stage.
  • Girls choose the same subjects as boys.
  • Women are still under-representing in key areas (engineering/construction).
  • The gender gap has closed in professional sectors like law/accountancy/teaching/medicine.
  • There are still more men in management than women.
  • Men are rarely found in childcare services.
  • Women have ambitions beyond being a housewife.

Marketisation - Funding is based on student numbers and schools are more free to run themselves. This is because of the Education Reform Act introduced in 1988 by the conservative government. This made many changes in schools.

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The education reform act brought in the national curriculum in 1988/9.

This means we get set subjects in state schools. OFSTED inspects schools and produces a report for people to see. 

SAT's - Standardised Assessment tests for children aged 7 and 11.

In 2008 the SAT's were scrapped and diploma's were introduced.

The government brought in SAT's to try and measure every students performance against national targets.

This meant measures could be taken for those who were under-performing.

Looking at a league table, schools with only girls seem to do best.

Increased competition and choice - Schools have to provide evidence for how well they're doing.They're in competition for the best pupils. Schools believe that having the best results is the most important way to measure success.

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Teachers and Teaching (Education)

Classroom layouts affect the style of teaching.

Teaching is a vocation - not just in it for the money. It is actually paid quite badly compared to other jobs of the same skill and has lost it's status over the past 50 years.

The main reason teachers get stressed is because of bad behaviour.

The school as a community - It is a legal requirement for schools to have school governors(very top). These people aren't paid but are respected by the community and have good experience (representatives from the local community). Involved in the governors are 2 parents and a teacher.

The governors are responsible for the big decisions such as the curriculum, staffing, welfare, aims and budget, choose head and approve staff.

Gender and education - Both boys and girls are doing better in school than a few years ago, but girls seem to have progressed more rapidly.

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Gender and Education

Girls - In the 1970s/80s there was a lot of concern that girls didn't get the same opportunities as boys. They ended up with lower paid/lower status jobs than boys.

Factors affecting these differences

Socialisation(canalisation) - Girls are read to and encouraged to read more.           Job market - More opportunities for women now (Service)

Crisis of masculinity

Used to being Breadwinner, now manly jobs are disappearing  and males have lost their motivation, ambition and identity.

If boys work hard they're seen as Geeks. They have a lower level of literacy because their mums would read to them.

There are a shortage of male teachers of primary schools so boys have no male role models. Women are getting stronger, men are getting weaker.

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Feminists, New right, Functionalists, Marxists and

Feminism has helped to change female's experience of school. They never used to be seen as needing a good education. People thought that too much learning made girls Ladettes. People also thought women's brains didn't have the same capacity as men's. This suited men. Even though we have legislation, the top jobs belong to men.

New right do not want women to become breadwinners, they like tradition.

They think society works best when men and women have separate roles.

Functionalists think women should should have different roles to men because society needs different people to do different things.

Marxists think women should stay at home so that capitalism (unfair class system) can continue. This means women are in a supporting role so men can go to work.

How gender differences showed up in schools: Girls got less attention than boys, Teachers didn't expect girls to do well, Older textbooks showed men as dominant.

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What's changed? Attitudes and Subject choice

  • Everyone became aware of these differences.
  • Equal Opportunities Legislation means that men and women are treated equally.
  • Changes in expectations from employers - Girls expecting to get better jobs.
  • New confidence that girls could achieve qualifications and careers.

Boys and girls have different attitudes...

Girls work harder and are not so easily distracted and are better at working on projects and coursework.

Girls will spend more time and take more care over homework.

*Coursework is now being phased out because it is considered unfair for boys*

Subject choice - From the 1970's, girls and boys were offered the same choices and then the national curriculum meant everyone studied the same thing till KS4.

Girls do language, English and Humanities, Boys do Maths and Science.

Girls are less likely than boys to choose courses leading to higher paid careers.

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Co-ed schools and Ethnic groups and education, Rac

There are still many single sex schools and it is said to benefit girls because they don't have to put up with boys behaviour. 

Boys do better without girls to distract them because they don't need to show off.

Ethnic groups and education

In our country we only have 9% non-whites.

Race is based on outward appearance only.

Mix of ethnic group=multicultural/multi-ethnic.

You don't have to be in a multi-ethnic area to be multicultural because technology shows you.

Racism - Different because of inherited characeristics

Prejudice - A judgement made which is hostile and based on inadequate facts.

Discrimination - Unfair treatment of a person/group based on prejudice.

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Home factors and School factors

Home factors affecting these differences

Indigenous- Come from the native population (born in the country).

Ethnocentric/al - You think your culture is the best.

Material deprivation - Minority ethnic groups tend to be in lower social classes, so suffer material deprivation.

Language - Main language may not be English so studies are carried out in a foreign language.

Cultural deprivation - Parents may find it difficult to motivate children.

School factors affecting these differences

Teacher-Pupil interactions - May experience racism, some teachers have stereotyped views and expectations - may be influenced by ethnic origin.

Teachers seem to have higher expectations of Asian pupils and lower for afro-Caribbean and other blacks.

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Subcultures in Ethnic groups. Class and Education.

All pupils, regardless of ethnicity form subcultures in school. Can e dependant on their background, peer group, class, and how they're labelled by teachers.

Both Black and White pupils may be in a Pro or Anti-school subculture.

Rebels - Anti-school                       Innovators - Try hard but simply don't like it

Pro-school - Want to do well          Retreatists - Truant - Quietly reject school

What gets taught in school may not be seen as relevant to ethnic minority pupils as textbooks mainly focus on the dominant one. 

Class and education - WC pupils do not do as well as MC pupils at school.

Children from working class backgrounds are: Less likely to be found in a nursery, More likely to Start school unable to read, more likley to be placed in lower sets, more likely to get few GCSE's or lower grades, more likely to leave school at the earliest opportunity possible.

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Class and Education, Labelling.

Class is influenced by:

Material deprivation, Parents attitude, Speech patterns, Cultural deprivation. 

How a pupil is labelled at school is linked to social class:

  • Teachers make judgements about students (Labelling)
  • Teachers have lower expectations of WC students, making them feel thick.
  • This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy (Teachers think they're right).

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Thanks Chloe, this is very helpful, thanks for spending your time creating this :) Also i just wanted to ask, if our exam includes the crime topic, I haven't been told to revise it :S 



Thank you Chloe :) 



This is so helpful, thank you :)

Hari Banwell


Thanks for telling me about these Chloe! :)

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