M/c pupils tend to achieve more than W/c pupils. Some explations focus on the ecternal factors outside the school. These include cultural deprivation - w/c pupils are seen as lacking the right attitudes, values, language & knowledge for educational sucess (eg, they lack deferred gratification). Material deprivation means w/c children are more likely to have poorer diets, health & housing, & parents who are less able to meet hidden costs of schooling. The m/c have more cultural capital. They are better placed to take advantage of the choices offered in a marketisatised education system.
Some explanations of class differences in achievment focus on internal factors within school & the education system Interactionists argue that schools activley create inequality through labelling and the self-fulfiling prophecy, streaming and polarisation into pro-& anti-school subcultures.
Marketisation & selection policies increase streaming within schools & inequalities between schools, through processes such as educational triage & cream skimming, & this disadvantages w/c pupils.