Education Topic Notes

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AQA AS Sociology - Education

Educational Policy

1. Economic Efficiency

  • Improve skills for the labour market, and meet the needs of employers.
  • Vocational Education/Apprenticeships.

Dolphin (2004): Strong work-based vocational education and training with high employer involvement is the best way to have a smooth transition from education to work.

2. Raising Educational Standards

3. Creating equality of opportunity in a meritocratic society

  • Meritocratic: The right people (i.e. skills/abilities/qualifications) are allocated the right jobs based on "achievement".
  • Jobs being allocated according to ability
  • Equal Access/Same chances to succeed.

Gillborn and Youdell (2000): "Equality of Educational Opportunity"

  • Every child should have an equal chance to develop their talents and abilities.

4 Dimensions:

  • a. Equality of Access - all children have access to quality provision.
  • b. Equality of Outcome - all children have an equal chance to benefit from school.
  • c. Equality of Circumstance - all children are in the same socio-economic status when starting school.
  • d. Equality of Participation - all children have an equal chance of participating in activities.

Halsey, Heath and Ridge (1980): If there was equality of outcome, social class, gender and ethnicity wouldn't affect educational outcome.

Recent Policies

  • 1. School Leaving Age (1964/72)
  • 2. Specialist Schools
  • 3. Academies
  • 4. Aim Higher
  • 5. Education Action Zones (EAZs)

Marketisation of Education

1. Education Policy 1979 onwards.

  • 1979-1997 - Margaret Thatcher as PM.
  • Education Reform Act 1988.
    • a. National Curriculum.
    • b. OFTSED.
    • c. League Tables.
    • d. SAT Exams.
    • e. Key Stages (1, 2, 3, 4 & 5).
    • f. Formula Funding.

Marketisation refers to the process of introducing market forces of consumer choice and competition between suppliers into areas run by the state, such as education.

  • Reducing direct state control over education.
  • Increasing both competition between schools and parental choice of school.

Miriam David (1993): Describes marketised education as a "parentocracy". Supporters of marketisation argue that power shifts from producers (teachers and schools) to consumers (parents). Claiming that this encourages diversity amongst schools, which gives parents more choice and raises standards.

Will Bartlett (1993): If schools get better results, they are able to "cream-skim" the more able students, which leads the school to become more popular and recieve increased funding and better facilites. The more popular the school becomes and the higher up in the league tables it sits, the more it can "silt-shift" less able students to a less able school so they do not effect their position on the league tables.

  • Cream-skimming: "Good" schools can be more selective, choose their own customers and recruit high achieving, mainly middle-class students. As a result, these students gain an advantage.
  • Silt-shifting: "Good" schools can avoid taking less able students who are likely to get poor results and damage the schools league table position.

Gewirtz (1995): Found that differences in parents' economic and cultural capital lead to class differences in how far they ould exercise choice of secondary school.

  • Privileged-Skilled Choosers: 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


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