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Sociology: Education: Social Policy: Revision

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Jack Morris

on 14 April 2014

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Transcript of Sociology: Education: Social Policy: Revision

Main Phases of Educational Policy
Industrialisation increased the need for an educated workforces, and from the late 19th Century the state began to become more involved in education. In this period, the type of education a children received was based on their background. Schooling did little to change pupils' ascribed status. Middle-class pupils were given an academic curriculum to prepare them for careers in the professions or office work.
Working Class pupils were given schooling to equip them with the basic numeracy and literacy skills needed for routine factory work and to instil in them an obedient attitude to their superiors.
Comprehensive System
Introduced in many areas since 1965. Aimed to overcome class divided and make education more meritocratic. The 11+ was abolished along with grammars and secondary moderns, being replaced with comprehensive schools. The system continued to reproduce class inequality because of:
1. Streaming - Middle Class in Higher streams
2. Labelling - Affects Educational Achievement
Legitimated inequality, through the "myth of meritocracy". Because all pupils went to the same type of school, it made it appear that they all had an equal opportunity regardless of class background, when this is not the case.
Marketisation and Parentocracy
The 1988 Education Reform Act introduced by the Conservative Govenment established the principle of marketisation in education. From 1997, the New Labour Government followed similar policies, emphasising standards, diversity and choice. The Education Reform Act created an "education market" by:
Reducing direct state control over education
Increasing both competition between schools and parental choice of school
New Right favour Marketisation
David (1993) describes this phase as parentocracy. This is because supporters of marketisation argue that in an education market, power shifts away from the producers to consumers. They claim that his encourages diversity among schools and gives parents more choice, meets the needs of different pupils, and raises standards.
Sociology: Education: Social Policy: Revision
Sociology
Education
Social Policy
Revision

Selection: Tripartite System
From 1944, the education began to be shaped by the idea of meritocracy - the individuals should achieve their status in life through their own efforts and abilities, rather than is being ascribed. The 1944 Education Act brought in the tripartite system so called because children were to be selected and located to one of three different types of secondary school, according to their aptitudes and abilities. These were to be identified by the 11+ exam.
Grammar - Academic, Higher Education, Mainly Middle-Class
Secondary Modern - Non-Academic, "Practical", Mainly Working-Class
Technical - Vocational
The tripartite system reproduced class inequality by channeling the two social classes into two different types of school that offered unequal opportunities. Reproduced gender inequality by discriminating against girls, often making them need higher marks than boys on the 11+.
Marketisation and Parentocracy
Policies to promote marketisation include:
Publication of exam league tables and Ofsted inspect reports
Business sponsorship of schools
Open enrollment
Formula funding
Schools being allowed to opt out of LEA control
Schools having to compete to attract pupils
Some politicians have proposed educational vouchers
Reproduction of Inequality
Despite the claimed benefits of Marketisation, its critics argue that it has increased inequalities between pupils, for example because middle class parents are better placed to take advantage of the available choices.
Ball (1994) and Whitty (1998) examine how marketisation reproduces and legitimates inequality. They argue it reproduces inequality through:
Exam League Tables
Funding Formula
Exam League Tables
The policy of publishing each school's exam results in a league table ensures that schools which achieve good results are more in demand, because parents are attracted to those with good league table rankings. This allows these schools to be more selective and to recruit high achieving, mainly middle-class pupils. As a result, middle-class pupils get the best education.
For schools with poor league table positions, this is the opposite.
Funding Formula
Schools are allocated funds by a formula based on how many pupils attract. As a result, popular schools get more funds and so can afford better-qualified teachers and better facilities. Again, their popularity allows them to be more selective and attracts more able or ambitious, generally middle-class applicants.
This again is the opposite for unpopular schools.
Myth of Parentocray
Not only does marketisation reproduce inequality it also legitimates it by concealing its true causes and by justifying its existence.
Ball believes that markestisation gives the appearance of creating a "parentocracy". However, Ball argues that parentocracy is a myth, not a reality. It makes it appear that all parents have the same freedom to choose which school to send their children to.
Gerwitz shows, middle-class parents have more economic and cultural capital and so are better able to take advantage of the choices available.
By disguising the fact that schooling continues to reproduce class inequality in this way, the "myth of parentocracy" makes inequality in education appear to be fair and inevitable.
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