Education - Key terms

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  • Created on: 07-11-22 16:26
A-C Economy
Where schools focus a disproportionate amount of their resources on making sure ‘middling’ students get 5 A*-Cs, rather than helping to boost more able students or getting less able students passes below the 5- A*C threshold.
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Achieved status
Where individuals gain their social position in society through their own efforts, rather than that position being based on their ascribed characteristics such as their ‘race’ or their class background.
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Ascribed status
Where an individual’s position in society is pre-determined by their birth or social characteristics. An example of this is the royal inheritance in the United Kingdom: only a son of Queen Lizzie II can become King when she dies.
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Grouping students by ability. Students are put into the same group across all subjects (unlike setting, which is where students might be placed in different ability groups in different subject.
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Where choices of subjects become gradually more limited as children progress through school.
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Compensatory Education
Educational policies which provide additional money or resources for students facing cultural or material deprivation. The idea is that the extra money/resources helps overcome disadvantage and boost results.
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Comprehensive School
One type of school for all students. Non-selective schools where all students have an equal opportunity within the same school.
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The establishment of comprehensive schools in the 1960s which replaced the selective tripartite system.
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Core Values
The fundamental ideas about how we should act in society which, according to Functionalists are taught to children in schools as part of secondary socialisation in industrial societies.

Core values might include such things as a belief in meritocracy, tr
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Correspondence principle
The Marxist idea that the norms and values pupils learn in school prepare them for their future exploitation at work.
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Counter school culture
A group within a school which has norms and values in direct opposition to the mainstream culture of the school.
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Cultural capital
The skills, knowledge and attitudes associated with the dominant culture, possessed by the middle classes, which give middle class parents and children an advantage in life.
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Cultural deprivation
Where some groups, such as the lower social classes have inferior norms, values, skills and knowledge which hold them back in life.
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Cycle of Deprivation
Where one aspect of material disadvantage has a knock on effect and leads to other types of disadvantage, such that poverty is reinforced and carries on, often across generations.
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Deferred Gratification
Where one delays immediate reward and instead works hard now in order to receive a greater reward in the future.
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Self-fulfilling prophecy theory is often criticised as being deterministic, because it assumes that a particular input (labelling) always has the same affect (the subject accepts their label), without taking into account the fact that individuals respond
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Disconnected Choosers
Working class parents who simply send their children to local schools rather than researching different schools and then making their choice. The opposite of ‘skilled choosers’.
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Division of Labour
Where production is broken down into a number of small, specialized tasks to improve efficiency. For example, instead of one person constructing a whole car, each individual specializes in adding different bits.
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Education Action Zones
A New Labour Education policy which promoted links between clusters of schools (typically around 20) in deprived areas and local businesses and parents, with the intention of getting business to provide extra funds to those schools. This policy was introd
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Educational triage
Where schools sort students into three groups: those who will pass without help, those could pass with help, and those who probably won’t pass even if they do get help. Schools then focus most of their resources on helping the middle of these groups, whil
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Elaborated Speech Code
Language consisting of a wide vocabulary, complex sentences and which is context-free, so able to express abstract ideas. Used by the middle class and the opposite of restricted speech code.
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Equality of opportunity
Where everyone has an equal chance to get into the best schools and universities and achieve good qualifications, and everyone competes for the best results on a level playing field, without being discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, disabi
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Ethnocentric Curriculum
Ethnocentric means seeing or judging things in a biased way. An ethnocentric curriculum is one which treats middle class European white culture as superior – having Christian assemblies or teaching history from a European rather than an Indian or African
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The culture of a school – including its expected norms of behaviour, core values and especially the aspirations for its students.
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Where pupils are either suspended for a set period or permanently expelled from school, typically for breaking school rules.
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Where schools, or school services, are taken over by private businesses such as academy chains, rather than being run directly by the state.

A related concept here is ‘endogenous privatisation’, where schools are made compete like businesses while still
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According to Bernstein this is an attitude held by working class children and parents. It is the belief that they will inevitably end up in working class jobs, and so prevents them from aspiring to do any better.
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Free Schools
Schools set up and run by groups of parents, charities or businesses and run directly by them. They are funded directly by the government and not by Local Education Authorities.
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Gender domains
The activities that boys and girls see as typically the territory of their gender. E.g. playing football for boys and playing with dolls for girls.
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The increasing interconnectedness of people and societies across the world.
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Grammar School
A selective school catering to students who pass their 11+. Offers an academic education catered to high achieving students. Part of the ethos of grammar schools is that students should aspire to go to university.
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Hidden Curriculum
The Hidden Curriculum refers to the norms and values not taught directly as part of the official curriculum, but passed on informally in schools.

Whereas the official curriculum is made up of subjects, subject content, formal lessons etc. the hidden curr
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Ideal Pupil
The idea of the perfect pupil which teachers have in their heads. Such pupils are smart, have good manners, obey school rules and work hard. According to Howard Becker they are typically middle class.
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Ideological state apparatus
This is main function of education in a capitalist society according to Marxists. Education works to transmit an ideological justification of capitalism, presenting the unequal capitalist system as normal and inevitable.

Schools do this directly by ‘agen
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Immediate Gratification
Wanting instant reward, right now. The opposite of deferred gratification.
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Independent (Private) Schools
Schools which are not state-funded and are paid for by parents. They do not have to follow the national curriculum, but most choose to do so.
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Institutional Racism
Discrimination which is built into the everyday workings of institutions such as schools.
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‘Labelling’ is where someone judges a person based on the superficial ‘surface’ characteristics such as their apparent social class, sex, and ethnicity.
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League Tables
Published documents which show the GCSE and A level results of all schools in England and Wales. Schools are effectively ranked against each other and thus are easy to compare.
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Legitimation of class inequality
A Marxist term – where schools justify inequality through teaching the myth of meritocracy. Schools teach working class pupils that it is their fault if they fail their exams and end up in working class jobs, rather than the fault of the unequal and unfai
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Making schools compete for pupils, like businesses compete for clients or consumers.
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Material deprivation
Where someone cannot afford or lacks access to basic, material resources such as food and heating.
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The idea that what an individual achieves is based on a combination of their ability and effort.
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Multicultural education
Any education that raises awareness of the different cultures, traditions and religions in a society, typically aimed at promoting acceptance of (or at least tolerance of diversity).
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Myth of meritocracy
Part of Marxist Theory – the idea that schools are not meritocratic but teach students that they are so as to legitimate inequality (see the legitimation of class inequality).
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National Curriculum
Set subjects (and the content within those subjects) laid down by the government that all state funded schools must teach.
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The government body which inspects schools and publishes reports, grading schools from ‘outstanding’ to ‘in need of improvement’. Has the power the put schools into special measures and change the management and staffing of failing schools.
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Literally ‘the rule of the parents’. It is where parents have a choice over which school to send their children to.
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Particularistic values
The specific standards by which parents judge their children.
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Passive subservience
Accepting authority and doing what you are told without questioning it.
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Patriarchal Ideology
Norms and values which make patriarchy seem natural. E.g. the idea that women should be the primary child carers because they give birth to children.
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A system of male domination, or one in which men have advantage over women.
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The changes associated with the move to a postmodern society, including globalization, more consumerism, more individual choice and diversity.
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Privatisation (exogenous)
Where schools, or school services, are taken over by private businesses such as academy chains, rather than being run directly by the state.
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Privatisation (endogenous)
Where schools are made to compete like businesses while still being run by the state. This was the idea behind marketization.
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Reproduction of inequality
Where inequality is carried on from one generation to the next.
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Restricted Speech Code
Language consisting of limited vocabulary, simple sentences, and which is context specific. According to Bernstein, this is what the working class speak. It is the opposite of the elaborated speech code.
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Role allocation
Where pupils are sifted and sorted into appropriate jobs based on their abilities, reflected in the qualifications they achieve.

Society requires the most able to be in the most important and demanding jobs. Education makes sure this happens- only the m
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Self-fulfilling prophecy
This is where someone acts according to their label and the label becomes true in reality.

In education a pupil who is repeatedly told that they are unlikely to achieve may consequently give up their efforts which in turn will reduce the likelihood of ga
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Social Solidarity
Where individuals work together in pursuit of a shared goal.
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Subculture and Counter School Culture
A subculture consists of a group of people who share norms and values which are different to mainstream values.
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Work related education or training.

Vocationalism refers to any training or education which is specifically targeted to a particular type of job or sector.
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Achieved status


Where individuals gain their social position in society through their own efforts, rather than that position being based on their ascribed characteristics such as their ‘race’ or their class background.

Card 3


Ascribed status


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