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Flashcards in Unit 1 Education Deck (27)
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What is ‘formal education’?


Formal education takes place in educational institutions such as schools and universities where people learn knowledge and skills across a wide range of subjects.


What is ‘informal education’?


Informal education: takes place when people develop knowledge and skills by observing what is happening around them in everyday life. A clear example is the ‘hidden curriculum’ where students learn norms and values through assemblies, house competitions etc.


What is the functionalist view of education?


That education is a POSITIVE agent of society serving a range of the needs and purposes. The 6 key areas are:

  1. Economic - teaching the knowledge and skills that future workers will need in a competitive global economy.
    • Selection - working like a sieve, grading people and allocating them to jobs based on their individual merit, abilities and exam results.
  2. Social mobility - enable individuals to move up/down the social ladder. Able students from disadvantaged backgrounds have opportunities to achieve qualifications that allow them to move up the layers of the social class system.
    • Encouraging ‘Britishness’ and social cohesion - pupils identify with British culture and see themselves as British citizens. Schools help to reinforce the ‘glue’ or the social bonds that unite different people in society.
    • Secondary socialization - pupils learn the culture, norms and values of their society e.g. hidden curriculum.
  3. Social control - schools teach pupils to conform and accept rules and adult authority.

What is the Marxist view of education?


Marxists see the education system as benefiting privileged groups and reinforcing social inequalities over time in the following ways:

  1. Serving the interests of the ruling class - by passing on ideas and beliefs that benefit the ruling class (e.g. that the capitalist society is fair and meritocratic)
  2. Reproducing the class system - education appears to reward pupils fairly based on their individual abilities. However, it actually favours pupils from more advantaged backgrounds. Over time, education reproduces the advantages that some social class groups have over others.
  3. Breeding competition - through sports and exams at school, students are encouraged to accept values such as competition. If most people value competition, this helps to maintain the capitalist system because it is based on competition.
  4. Secondary socialization - the education system socializes working-class children to accept their lower position in capitalist society. They learn to accept hierarchy at school and to obey rules.

What are the 5 main stages of the British education system?

  1. Preschool/early years education
  2. Primary education
  3. Secondary education
  4. Further education
  5. Higher education

What were the main features of the 1988 Education Reform Act?
Remember this has been the MAJOR change to education in the last 30 years. If question asks for last 25 years CANNOT use this change.

  1. New National Curriculum - set the subjects to be studied by pupils from KS1-4 with core emphasis on English, Maths and Science.
  2. Introduction of tests (SATS) in core subjects to check progress of students at 7, 11, 14 and GCSE’s at the end of KS4.
  3. OFSTED to check school standards and rate schools - emphasis on ‘naming’ and ‘shaming’ inadequate schools.
  4. League tables of results published for everyone to see.

Why do parents choose to send their children to ‘faith’ schools? 4 reasons

  1. Faith schools provide an education that complements the pupils’ religion
  2. Many faith schools have above average exam results
  3. Parents may prefer the religious ethos and teaching in a faith school
  4. Some supporters argue that faith schools produce individuals who have a strong sense of identity and self worth

What do critics want to see ‘faith’ schools abolished? 4 reasons.


1, Faith schools segregate/divide children from different religions and discourage mixing

  1. They work against social cohesion
  2. The intake of many faith schools is not representative of the local population
  3. Some may discriminate in their employment or promotion of staff on religious grounds

Why do parents choose private school education over state education? 4 reasons.

  1. Private schools have an academic ethos and pupils tend to achieve exam results that are well above the national average
  2. They offer good teaching and learning resources and small classes
  3. They offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities
  4. There is a strong focus on careers guidance and progression to university

What are the disadvantages of private schools? 4 reasons

  1. Private schools are selective and only admit pupils who pass an entrance exam and/or whose parents can afford the school fees
  2. They tend to recruit pupils from similar backgrounds and help to reproduce social inequality and class divisions
  3. They can put pupils under a lot of pressure to compete and to perform well academically
  4. Many of the teachers in private schools have been trained at the state’s expense

What other alternatives to mainstream schooling in state and private sector are there? Name 2

  1. Home schooling - parents can choose to educate their children at home themselves. This can happen where there has been bullying, but it does limit the role of the school in secondary socialization and can limit social cohesion.
  2. Summerhill - private school where pupils choose which lessons to go to, and all decisions are made democratically by the whole school community (pupils included).

What are the 3 main ways schools can group pupils?

  1. Mixed ability - where pupils are grouped so there are a range of abilities within the group.
  2. Setting - pupils grouped according to their abilities in individual subjects e.g. English, Maths.
  3. Streaming - pupils are put in a band ‘upper’ ‘middle’ or ‘lower’ and go to all classes in the same group.

Why is there debate about grouping pupils?


Mixed ability is seen as best for social cohesion, providing opportunities for lower ability pupils to be supported by more able, giving the more able key skills for the future. Pupils are not ‘labelled’ as stupid so avoiding a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Setting and streaming are preferred by many parents of bright children as the best for stretching the more able and providing less disruption from lower ability pupils. Lower ability pupils are taught together at a pace that allows them to make progress, rather than being left behind as the teacher moves on for the more able.


What the key patterns of educational achievement by class?


In general, students from middle-class backgrounds tend to achieve better results in public examinations than those from working-class backgrounds.


What the key patterns of educational achievement by ethnicity?


Generally, students from some minority ethnic groups (such as Chinese, Indian and Irish heritage students) tend to perform better than others (such as African, Caribbean, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage students) within education.


What the key patterns of educational achievement by gender?


By the early 2000s, girls were doing better than boys at GCSE and A-level. They were also tending to perform better in key stage tests. In 2008, girls performed better than boys in English and science tests at Key Stage 2


Why is the pattern of educational achievement complicated?


Not all students who are working-class, male, or from an ethnic minority background underachieve. For example, boys from schools in very affluent areas generally perform better than boys and girls in very deprived areas; middle-class boys tend to achieve better results than working-class girls.


What are the 4 key HOME factors affecting educational achievement?

  1. Parental values and expectations - parents in professional occupations often have high expectations of their kids and expect them to do well at school. They are more likely than other parents to monitor their children’s school performance e.g. attending parents evenings.
  2. Parents’ educational backgrounds - If parents have high-level educational qualifications, they are more able to help with homework and monitor progress.
  3. Economic Circumstances including material deprivation - Students from relatively well-off backgrounds are more likely to have access to facilities to help them study at home. Students from some minority ethnic backgrounds are far more likely than white British students to attend the most deprived schools.
  4. Cultural Background including cultural deprivation - Research suggests that British Chinese parents value education and that in Chinese culture, children respect older people. So British Chinese pupils develop high educational ambitions and get positive self-esteem from being ‘good pupils’. If parents don’t value education they will pass on this attitude - this is often given as an explanation for underclass/working class underachievement.

What are the 5 key SCHOOL factors that affect educational achievement?

  1. School-based resources - how well-resourced the school is e.g. ICT, high quality teaching staff, opportunities given to all pupils such as revision classes can make a difference.
  2. The school curriculum - can be seen as ethnocentric; biased towards white European cultures. Critics argue that African Caribbean cultures, histories and experiences should be included more in the curriculum
  3. Teacher expectations and labelling - some teachers may have lower expectations of students from working-class or minority ethnic backgrounds. This may affect how much attention such teachers give to these students during lessons and they may become demotivated. Negative labelling of working-class or ethnic minority background students can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. This means that students perform as badly or as well as their teachers expect them to. The ‘halo effect’ describes how teachers will have high expectations of certain pupils e.g. girls.
  4. Pupil cultures - some pupils may experience peer pressure to conform to the norms of a culture that does not value education. ‘Laddish’ cultures emphasize that it is ‘uncool’ to work hard. This informal peer subculture may encourage anti-learning attitudes and affect the progress of particular students.
  5. School ethos - refers to the character/culture of a school. Some schools have an academic ethos that promotes exam success and progression to higher education (e.g. selective schools).

Why has girls achievement improved so much in the last 30 years?

  1. Impact of government policies and laws e.g. During the 1980s, many schools developed equal opportunities policies to try to address gender inequalities and discrimination in schools. This raised awareness of gender issues in education following anti-discrimination laws e.g. Sex Discrimination Act 1975.
  2. Impact of feminism - Attitudes to gender roles generally and to girls’ education in particular have changed. Girls are no longer expected to see marriage and motherhood as their main goals in life.
  3. National Curriculum - Before the introduction of the National Curriculum, girls tended to specialize in some subjects and boys in others at 14 and beyond. The introduction of the National Curriculum in the late 1980s meant that pupils could no longer opt out of science subjects at 14. This helped to raise girls’ achievements in science and opened up career opportunities for females.

What is the ‘Academies Programme’?


Academies set up in 2000 as new schools to replace those seen as providing poor education to students in most deprived areas. More independence, more control by head teachers and links with sponsors e.g. private business could bring more power and new expertise to improve standards. In 2016 government declared the intention to turn every school in England and Wales to academies.


What are ‘Free Schools’ and why were they set up?


‘Free’ means they are not under LEA (Local Education Authority) control. Can be set up by parents, communities to fill a gap e.g. providing a faith school in the area or a mixed gender school if only separate gender schools offered. Their purpose is to improve choice and raise standards; there is anxiety that extreme faith groups may set up free schools where the teaching is biased in some way, but Ofsted should prevent this.


What is the ‘marketization of education’?


The policy of bringing the market forces of COMPETITION and CHOICE into education:

  1. Parental choice - Parents can now express a preference for school of choice, and if a school has vacancies they cannot refuse a pupil a place.
  2. More information for parents - Schools now have to provide, by law, a school profile containing a wide range of information for parents, including successes, areas for improvement and progress on OFSTED reports.

Why was the school leaving age raised to 18 in 2015?


Research shows that young people who carry on learning or training until the age of 18 earn more money, are likely to be healthier and less likely to be in trouble with the police. 16-19 Bursary Fund to support disadvantaged students (which replaced EMA’s) in England.


What are some of the criticisms of recent government policies in education?

  1. The emphasis on parental choice/competition between schools to raise standards have made life more difficult for some urban schools that have an intake of working-class or minority ethnic students
  2. National league tables were introduced to help raise standards in schools. However, they can have negative effects for low achievers from disadvantaged backgrounds if schools focus their resources on the better performers rather than on those who are not entered for GCSE exams

What is the debate around VOCATIONAL education?


VE is courses that are directly linked to occupations e.g. hairdressing, animal care, engineering, travel and tourism.
For: Prepare students for real life jobs, courses had input from employers.
Against: Debate about the academic standard of the qualification – is it really worth as much as other more academic GCSE’s?


What is the debate around the education of pupils identified as having SEN?


SEN means ‘student with educational need’ e.g. physical, mental or emotional needs. Schools are now required to make alterations to sites for students in wheelchairs. SEN students are supported by teaching assistants in mainstream education.
Debate is how far students should be included in mainstream education - to create greater social cohesion inclusive education is important but can mainstream schools cope with pupils with serious SEN?