1988 education act

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Last updated: August 15, 2019

1988 Education Reform Act Butler introduced the first of many free Schools in the U. K, named the tripartite system; education had become free and compulsory for all children between the ages of five and fifteen. The tripartite system demanded that every child entering secondary school would have to sit an 11+ in order for them to be matched to an appropriate school based on their result.

Butler’s “great” reform act had then hastily diminished and became the bipartite system meaning only grammar and secondary modern schools were used; one school for children who had passed their 11+ exams nd another for children who had not passed and were considered more (Browne, 2011:175). In 1975 the labour government had tried to abolish all grammar schools, to help gain equality within the education system but a party of conservatives in Manchester were against this ideology as they were keen on keeping the grammar schools open for the purpose of a functionalist society.That is why till this day there are such schools still standing that are mostly politically conservative.

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The National Curriculum was then established whilst Margaret Thatcher was in power. The conservatives started a programme named “The New Right”, this was to privatise certain public sectors meaning that schools all over the U. K were able to have a choice in becoming private and hiding away from public eyes; thus only being accessible to wealthier families (Nitta, 2008:166). By 1979 Margaret Thatcher had been voted in as Prime minister and brought more social class inequality to Great Britain by 1980.

Between the early 80s and the late 90s, the proportion of poorer children who graduate from university had risen by only 3%, compared to 26% from wealthier families,” (Sheperd, 2009). Cuts had been made, unemployment was spreading quickly, the rich were becoming richer and the poor were becoming poorer. We are now seeing the effects of the conservative party in todays economy and especially within the education system.

They have tended to stick to a functionalist regime in society and a meritocratic order in education. This is something that Marxists’ oppose completely.Marxists believe that the education system is completely corrupt as it has no intention on helping the poor and working class. They believe that the education system mirrors the system of employment in hich oppresses the poor and working class, this belief is proven as you can make a clear distinction with the hierarchy in education; head teachers, deputy head, head of year, teachers and then students.

This is a mirrored effect of the employment system; vice president, C. E. O, regional manager, manager, managers assistant, supervisor, supervisors assistant, team leaders, workers.What Marxists have pointed out is that this is a system that is used on children constantly from a young age as part of a control system (Barcan, 1993:161). Marxists theorise that the middle class enefits more from education than the working class as the national curriculum is designed to suit the rich.

This has a great impact on the working class as they are not able to support their children through education due to their low household income According to Karl Marx, “the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force. He believed, the people that make up the ruling class are determined by how educated they are and by how much “common sense” they have; thus meaning people that can ideologies a system for the working class to follow. It has been believed that the working class are not accepted as people who have enough “common sense” to be thinkers and to be able to succeed in life as that of the middle class (Open University, 1974:176). Society can see that the majority of working class are more likely to take on vocational education and secure a career that is based on their physical being and not mental being.Society can definitely see that the middle class community are people who are usually academic achievers and acquire careers that are “thinking” careers for example working as a lawyer, to be a lawyer the majority of your time would be to think and xpress your knowledge of the law. The problem with the Marxists theory on social class and education is that it is not realistic in terms of modern society. Life as we know it, from the beginning of time communities have had leaders of groups, villages, towns, even countries, from hunters to witch doctors, people have always played their different part in their society.So the Marxist theory would not completely work as a whole, unless the worlds so called “civilisation” were to change dramatically and we would also have to change our state of mentality and way of living our everyday lives.

Society in the U. K has been living by the meritocratic system since the tri- partite system failed and was abolished by parliament and Margaret Thatcher came into power. This in itself has affected social mobility, which has created a huge impact on an individual’s social status prospects in future and potential opportunities (Schroder, 1995:67).The link between social class, social mobility and opportunity is that opportunity does not pass often for the working class but the wealthy seem to encounter much more opportunity, creating a social ladder for them and opening a door into social mobility.

The government have set up funds of billions of pounds in order to help social mobility in the past decade but it seems that this has only helped the middle class rather than the class that it was intended for. Studies show that the U. K’s social mobility rate is lower than the majority of the other European countries (Parliament, 2010).According to statistics, “last year only 35% of pupils eligible for free school meals obtained five or more A* to C GCSE grades, compared with 63% of pupils from wealthier backgrounds,” (Sheperd, 2009) This now takes me onto the topic of xaminations.

IQ tests and examinations for testing intelligence in order to place children in which category of education they should be in, was first established in 1944. The Educational system thought that they could measure intelligence through a student’s IQ scores. The question is what is intelligence? “The problem with the term IQ test is,” (Gould, 1984).IQ testing and exams are mainly based on academic knowledge and memory, in my opinion it seems that the examinations were made in order to help the majority of students in middle class to pass so that they could carry n their education in university, this then relates back to education and social class. “When it comes to social class, the differences are even more striking.

In 1998 only a fifth of those whose parents were in unskilled manual Jobs achieved five GCSE passes at grades A to C. In contrast, more than two-thirds of children of the professional and managerial classes got five GCSEs at this standard,” (Travis, 2010).Middle class students are seen as “Naturally’ more intelligent compared to working class students. Exams are aimed at middle class students as exams test memorisation and s most middle class students lead a very academic and educational life compared to working class children. You would find that an average middle class child would have a tutor and different daily routine including instrumental tutoring and classes, it is definitely easier for them to study and memorise work in order for them to pass in their exams.Some have argued that intelligence is all down to nature and yet others argue that it is down to nurture. After looking at research and evidence it seems to me that it could be a bit of both but nurture seems to have a greater impact on a child’s learning than nature does. Intelligence is accountable based on the way a person thinks, and their style of learning, that is where the genetics intervenes with a person’s level of “intelligence”.

Genetics does not help a person to gain knowledge, but helps them learn in a certain way that helps them intake and maintain that knowledge. Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chief, and yes, even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, bilities, vocations and race of his ancestors. There is no such thing as an inheritance of capacity, talent, temperament, mental constitution, and behavioural characteristics,” (Watson, 1925:82).Bibliography UNSW Press.

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The Mismeasure of Man. New York. Norton. 151-152.

Nitta, K. A. , 2008. The politics of structural education reform. New York. Routledge. 166. Open University, Faculty of Educational Studies School and Society Course Team.

1974. School and society a sociological reader. London.Routledge & Kegan Paul. 176.

Schroder, K. ; Shelley, M. 1995.

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, 2009. Social class still determines success. Available: http://www.

guardian. co. uk/society/2009/Jan/12/ social-mobility-disadvantage. Last accessed 17/0112012. Travis, A.

2000. Money and class still affect exam results and future. Available: http://www. guardian. co. uk/ education/2000/may/11/schools. news. Last accessed 18/01/2012.

Watson, J. B. , 1924. Behaviorism. New York: Transaction Publishers. 82.

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