May 2011 Unit 2 Past Paper- answer suggestions- Education Q1-4

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1) Immediate gratification refers to seeking immediate pleasure/rewards, whilst ignoring the long-term consequences- working-class children may be socialised into this value.

2) Policies that may promote the marketisation of education include:

  • publishing exam league tables  
  • publishing Ofsted reports
  • voucher schemes for school/nursery places
  • formula funding- equal finance for each pupil taught
  • open enrolment, allowing schools to recruit as many pupils as possible 
  • schools competing for pupils 
  • schools opting out of local authority control 
  • encouraging a diversity of school types (specialist schools, academies, faith schools, cooperatives, free schools, etc)
  • business sponsorship of schools
  • private (fee-paying) schools. 

3) 'Outline some of the functions that the education system may perform.'

Intro: mention that different sociologists have different views on education. Do namedropping- Functionalism, New Right, Marxists


#Functionalists (see for more)

➡The education system is important in promoting social solidarity and skills (Durkheim), being meritocratic so as to help pupils away from reliance on ascribed status at home (Parsons), and to 'sift and sort' pupils according to ability, so they are allocated to the roles best suited for their abilities (Davis and Moore)

[To evaluate:

➡Dennis Wrong- 'over-socialised view' of people as mere puppets. Pupils don't passively accept

➡Melvin Tumin- circular argument- jobs that matters are highly rewarded. They are highly rewarded... because they matter more???

➡There's evidence equal opportunities don't exist- class background affects achievement

#New Right (see for more)

➡The education system should be marketised, providing a framework which allows for competition between schools bringing greater choice, diversity and efficiency. It should affirm national identity and integrate pupils into a single set of traditions and cultural values. However, state education is failing, as it has a 'one size fits all' approach

[To evaluate:

➡Gerwitz and Ball- schools competing benefits the middle class, who utilise cultural and economic capital to access more desirable schools

➡the real cause of low educational standards is social inequality and inadequate funding of state schools

➡contradiction – parental choice vs compulsory national curriculum

➡Marxists- education only imposes the culture of a dominant minority ruling class

#Marxists (see for more)

➡The education system is an ideological state apparatus which legitimates and reproduces class inequalities through controlling pupil's ideas, values and beliefs. Many mechanics within the school resemble those in capitalist society, which help…


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