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Flashcards in Educational Policy and Inequality Deck (31)
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Briefly describe the main features of the tripartite system.

- 1944 Education act.
- Selection and allocation of children into one of three different types of secondary schools, supposedly according to their aptitudes and abilities.
- 11+ exam.
- Grammar schools: academic curriculum, access to non-manual jobs + higher education. Passed 11+ exam. Mainly m/c pupils.
- Secondary modern schools: non-academic, 'practical' curriculum, access to manual work for those who failed 11+ exam. Mainly w/c.
- Technical schools: only existed in a few areas.
- Reproduced class inequality.
- Reproduced gender inequality: girls were required to gain higher marks than boys for grammar school access.
- Legitimated inequality through ideology that ability is inborn.


Briefly describe the main features of the comprehensive school system.

- From 1965
- Aimed to overcome the class divide of the tripartite system and make education meritocratic.
- Abolition of 11+ exam, grammar and secondary modern schools.
- Replace with comprehensive schools.
- However, it was left to local education authority to decided whether to 'go comprehensive', not all did.
- Result: grammar-secondary modern divide still exists in many areas.


What is the Marxist view of the role of education in comprehensive schools?

Marxists see education as serving the interests of capitalism by reproducing and legitimating class inequality. This can be linked to the role of comprehensive schooling.


What is the functionalist view of the role of education in comprehensive schools?

Functionalists see it as fulfilling essential functions such as social integration and meritocratic selection for future roles. However, an early study by Ford (1969) found little social mixing between w/c and m/c pupils, largely because of streaming.


Define marketisation.

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.


Which sociological perspectives favour marketisation?

Neoliberalism and the New Right.


What is parentocracy and how do those who favour it say it benefits education?

'Rule by parents'. Supporters of marketisation argue that in an education market, power shifts away from the producers to the consumers. They claim this encourages diversity among schools, gives parents more choice and raises standards.


Define cream-skimming.

'Good' schools can be more selective. choose their own customers and recruit high achieving, mainly m/c pupils. As a result, these pupils gain an advantage.


Define silt-shifting.

'Good' schools can avoid taking less able pupils who are likely to get poor results and damage the school's league table position.


How do league tables enable cream-skimming and silt-shifting to take place?

Schools with poor league table positions cannot afford to be selective + have to take less able, mainly w/c pupils, so their results are poorer + they remain unattractive to m/c parents. The overall effect of league tables is thus to produce unequal schools that reproduce social class inequalities


What is the impact of the funding formula on differences between schools?

Schools are allocated funds by a formula based on how many pupils they attract. As a result, popular schools get more funds and so can afford better-qualified teachers and better facilities. Conversely, unpopular schools lose income and find it more difficult to match the teacher skills and facilities of their successful rivals.


What are the three different types of parents identified by Gewirtz?

- Privileged-skilled choosers
- Disconnected-local choosers
- Semi-skilled choosers


Describe privileged-skilled choosers.

- Mainly professional m/c parents who used their economic + cultural capital to gain education capital for their children. Being prosperous, confident and well educated, they were able to take full advantage of the choices open to them.
- Cultural capital: Knew how school admissions systems work (e.g putting a particular school first). Had time to visit schools and skills to research the options available.
- Economic capital: they could afford to move their children around the education system e.g by paying extra travel costs so that their children could attend 'better' schools out of the area.


Describe disconnected-local choosers.

- W/c parents whose choices were restricted by their lack of economic and cultural capital.
- Found it difficult to understand school admission procedures.
- Less confident in their dealings with schools, less aware of choices open to them, and less able to manipulate the system to their own advantage..
- Many attached more importance to safety and the quality of school facilities than league tables or long-term ambitions.
- Distance and cost of travel were major restrictions on their choice of school. Funds were limited and a place at the nearest school was often their only realistic option.


Describe semi-skilled choosers.

- Mainly w/c, but unlike the disconnected-local choosers, they were ambitious for their children.
- However, they too lacked cultural capital and found it difficult to make sense of the education market, often having to rely on other people's opinions about schools.
- They were often frustrated at their inability to get their children into the schools they wanted.


Explain why Ball argues that parentocracy is a myth.

- It makes it appear that all parents have the same freedom to choose which school to send their children to.
- In reality, however, as Gewirtz shows, m/c parents are better able to take advantage of the choices available. For example, as Leech and Campos show, they can move into the catchment areas of more desirable schools.


List the New Labour policies aimed at reducing inequality.

- Designating some deprived areas as Education Action Zones and providing them with additional resources.

- The Aim Higher programme to raise the aspirations of groups who are under-represented in higher education.

- Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs): payments to students from low-income backgrounds to encourage them to stay on after 16 to gain better qualifications.


What is the 'New Labour paradox'?

- Critics such as Benn (2012) see a contradiction between Labour's policies to tackle inequality and its commitment to marketisation - something she calls the 'New Labour Paradox'.

- For example, despite introducing EMAs to encourage poor students to stay in education, Labour also introduced tuition fees for higher education which may deter them from going to university.


Give a brief outline of the following policy:

- From 2010, all schools were encouraged to leave local authority control and become academies.
- Funding: taken from local authority budgets, given directly to academies by central government and academies were given control over their curriculum.
- By 2012: over 1/2 of all secondary schools had converted to academies. Some are run privately, some by the state.
- The coalition government removed the focus on reducing inequality.


Give a brief outline of the following policy:
Free schools

- Funded by the state but set up and run by parents, teachers faith organisations etc rather than the local authority.
- Supporters claim they improve educational standards by taking control away from the state and giving power to the parents.
- In England, evidence shows that free schools take up fewer disadvantaged pupils than nearby schools. E.g in 2011, only 6.4% of pupils at Bristol Free School were eligible for free school meals, compared with 22.5% of pupils across the city as a whole (DoE 2012).


Define fragmentation.

The comprehensive system is being replaced by a patchwork of diverse provision, much of it involving private providers, that leads to a greater inequality in opportunities.


Define centralisation of control.

Central government alone has the power to allow or require schools to become academies or allow free schools to be set up. These schools are funded directly by central government. Their rapid growth has greatly reduced the role of elected local authorities in education.


What criticism has been made of the Pupil Premium?

Ofsted (2012) found that in many cases the Pupil Premium isn't spent on those it's supposed to help. Only 1 in 10 head teachers said that it had significantly changed how they supported pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.


What Coalition policies may have reduced opportunities for working class pupils?

As part of the coalition government's 'austerity' programme, spending money on many areas of education has been cut: spending on school buildings was cut by 60%, may Sure Start centres were closed, the EMA was abolished and uni tuition fees tripled to £9,000 a year.


Summarise the following aspects of privatisation:
- Blurring the public/private boundary.
- Privatisation and the globalisation of education policy.

Blurring the public/private boundary:
- Many senior officials in the public sector now leave to set up or work for private sector education businesses.
- These companies then bid for contracts to provide services to schools and local authorities
- For example, two companies set up in this way hold 4 of the 5 national contracts for school inspection services.

Privatisation and the globalisation of education policy:
- Many private companies in the education services industry are foreign-owned.
- The exam board Edexcel is owned by the US educational publishing and testing giant Pearson, and according to Ball, some Pearson GCSE exam answers are now marked in Sydney and Iowa.


Summarise the following aspects of privatisation:
- The cola-isation of schools
- Education as a commodity

The cola-sation of schools:
- The private sector is also penetrating education indirectly, for example through vending machines on school premises and the development of brand loyalty through displays of logos and sponsorship's.
- Molnar (2005): schools are targeted by private companies because 'schools by their nature carry enormous goodwill and can thus confer legitimacy on anything associated with them'. (product endorsement).

Education as a commodity:
- Ball concludes that a fundamental change is taking place in which privatisation is becoming the key factor shaping educational policy.
- Policy is increasingly focused on moving educational services out of the public sector controlled by the nation-state, to be provided by private companies instead.
- In the process, education is being turned into a 'legitimate object of private profit-making', a commodity to be brought and sold in an education market.


Summarise the following policy linked to children from minority ethnic groups:
- Assimilation policies

- Policies in the 1960s+70s focused on the need for children from minority ethnic groups to assimilate into mainstream British culture as a way of raising their achievement, especially by helping those for whom English wasn't their first language.

- However, critics argue that some minority groups who are at risk of underachieving, such as African Caribbean pupils, already speak English and that the real cause of their underachievement lies in poverty or racism.


Summarise the following policy linked to children from minority ethnic groups:
- Multicultural education

MCE policies through the 1980s and into the 1990s aimed to promote the achievements of children from minority ethnic groups by valuing all cultures in the school curriculum, thereby raising self-esteem and achievements.

- Stone (1981) argues black pupils don't fail for lack of self-esteem, so MCE is misguided.
- Critical race theorists argue that MCE is mere tokenism. It picks out stereotypical features of minority cultures for inclusion in the curriculum, but fails to tackle institutional racism.
- The New Right criticise MCE for perpetuating cultural divisions. They take the view that education should promote a shared national culture and identity into which minorities should be assimilated.


Summarise the following policy linked to children from minority ethnic groups:
- Social inclusion

Social inclusion of pupils from minority ethnic groups, and policies to raise their achievement, became the focus in the late 1990s. Policies include:
- Detailed monitoring of exam results by ethnicity.
- Attending the Race Relations Act to place a legal duty on schools to promote racial equality.
- Help for voluntary 'Saturday schools' in the black community.
- English as an Additional Language programme.

However, Mirza sees little genuine change in policy. She argues that, instead of tackling the structural causes of ethnic inequality such as poverty and racism, educational policy takes a 'soft' approach that focuses on culture, behaviour and the home.


How has marketisation created an 'education market'?

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