This essay will analyse how education system helps to maintain class inequality in contemporary Britain. In Britain, a good quality of public education service has been promised for all children regardless of ethnicity, race or income. Unfortunately, School League Table and recent surveys show opposite.
In 1944, the government passed Education Act which allowed all children to receive secondary education. Children would be selected by ability for different types of school through an IQ test called the 11+ (in Scotland, the qualifying exam).Between 1964 and 1974, all secondaries re-organised into comprehensive schools instead of IQ test selection. In today’s Britain, there are state (92%) and private (8%) schools with level of primary, secondary and tertiary. Vocational or non-vocational curriculum is being used and leaving school age is 16 since 1972. Universities continue to grow and now 40% of 18 year olds go onto university whereas in 1960s it was 5% of school leavers. Although the vast majority (80%) of private school pupils go into the university, almost 40% of state school pupils go into the further education. This shows that class inequality exists in British education system.
All sociologists accept that education is important in society as people receive 15000 hours of compulsory education. However, they have different opinions about the role of education in society. The originator of the functionalist ideology, Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) argued that education is an agent of secondary socialisation which transmits norms, values and roles (value consensus) and acts as a bridge between family and the whole social system. He claims pupils should see themselves as part of a nation by learning of certain subjects which can establish a common political identity for social solidarity, i.e. history, so pupils can see similarities between themselves and the past society.
American sociologist, Talcott Parsons...