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4. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that the main aim of education policies in the last 25 years has been to create an education market

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4. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that the main aim of education policies in the last 25 years has been to create an education market
4. Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the claim that the main aim of education policies in the last 25 years has been to create an education market. (20 marks)
In the past 25 years, many sociologists have stated that the main purpose of the educations system was to create an education market. Stated in item A, was stated that many policies such as league tables and open enrolments were introduced to help create the education market. Item A also suggests that others may take a different view believing that other policies such as EMA were not necessarily imposed to create an ‘educational market’ but more so to create equality amongst all pupils – especially disadvantaged social groups.

The Education Reform Act was introduced in 1988 providing an information revolution, this was the introduction of league tables and Ofsted reports being produced, this was to create parentocracy and marketization so schools could then start to be treated like a business. Another policy in which was produced was the introduction of ‘academy schools’. This educational market is a success for the schools who are doing well as it means they are further up the league tables and receive better reports, this means they will get more and more pupils coming to the school, more and more middle class/well achieving pupils and are able to cream skim and select the best pupils, they are also in a position where they are able to ‘silt shift’ and turn away pupils. This means the well performing schools will receive more formula funding whilst the poor performing schools are losing out on the money. This will lead to schools closing down, just how business will ‘go out of businesses.
Further policies were introduced by the Labour government for example Academies were introduced with schools being sponsored by businesses in order to improve them, and faith schools were also introduced with schools being linked to a religion. This again, creates choice and competition between parents and pupils. How ever there was also many policies introduced to help bring equality such as EMA, sure star nurseries, aim higher programmes and education act zones.
Though some may claim that the education policies introduced in the last 25 years has been to create either an educational market or more focused on creating equality, it could be argued that both procedures could be considered unfair or a failure amongst the education system. It is more than fair to say the marketization of schools has gave parents more power and more choice in where they send their child to, however some argue that schools like, private, faith, comprehempsive and same gender can widen the social class gap and therefore reproduce and legitimate inequality amongst pupils. Some may disagree with an educational market because it will only advantage the middle-class who are able to use ‘cultural capital’ in order to play the education game. Middle-class parents are able to send their children to better schools as they can afford the ‘costs of free schooling’ as Bull would argue, for example; the costs of resources, travelling, uniforms and in some cases might actually move into the catchment area of better schools in order to increase the chance of their child attending that school. How ever the working class are at a massive disadvantage as they suffer from both cultural deprivation and material deprivation.

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