The results of national testing, at all ages, suggest that we have not achieved equality of educational opportunity in the UK. With reference to a range of factors, what explanation can you offer for this?
“Everyone has the right to education” and furthermore “… higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit” (United Nations, 2013). The DfE (2013) holds a highly educated society as the ideal in which opportunities are equal in spite of background or circumstance. This is not proposing that everybody should be treated the same, on the contrary it is considering the reduction of barriers in order to provide equal educational experience and by extension opportunity for prosperity within society.
Teacher attitudes and by consequence relationships within the classroom are likely to have an impact on the learning environment, accordingly affecting results. Is it reasonable to suggest that a student who receives more attention from the teacher will achieve at a higher level? Although boys may receive more attention within a lesson, it may be given for negative reasons such as ‘bad’ behaviour (Francis, 2011). The balance of authority between student and teacher could potentially create a negative outlook and reinforce the underachievement of those who are unengaged or less motivated to begin with.
According to national statistics gathered in 2008/9 (DfE, 2009), over 10% more girls than boys achieved good level 2 qualifications (5 GCSE’s A*-C including Maths and English) at school leaving age: a considerable margin that can be recognised again in 2011 (BBC, 2011), with girls continuing to take precedence by 6.7%. It could be suggested that one reason for this difference in acquisition is the direction of the national curriculum (DfE, 2013). Are we working with content and methods of assessment that are more supportive of female achievement? Lloyd (p.39, 2011) stated “If boys and girls are brain-different, and therefore develop...
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