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Outline some of the ways in which marketisation and selection policies may produce class differences in education

By cfmadams Feb 25, 2014 620 Words
Outline some of the ways in which marketisation and selection policies may produce class differences in education Some sociologists argue that recent policies encouraging marketization and selection have increased class differences in educational achievement. The 1988 Education Reform Act began marketisation of education by encouraging competition between schools and choice for parents. Marketisation includes funding formulas, exam league tables, cream-skimming and silt shifting. Schools want to improve their league table positions to create an A to C economy. Schools need to achieve a good league table position if they are to attract pupils and funding. To achieve this good league table position, they have to educate their students and help teach them the ways to achieve. The A to C economy is brought about through a system in which schools ration their time, effort and resources, concentrating them on those pupils they perceive as having the potential to get 5 grade C’s at GSCE and so boost the schools league table position. This sort of A to C economy is used purely to help schools look better to parents so that their children will attend and the school gains more funding – this reflect the marketisation. Unfortunately, the A to C economy often leads to educational triage. This is where schools often categorise pupils into ‘those who will pass anyway’, ‘those with potential’ and ‘hopeless cases’. Teachers do this using notions of ‘ability’ in which working class and black pupils are labelled as lacking ability. As a result they are likely to be classified as ‘hopeless cases’ and ignored. This produces a self-fulfilling prophecy and failure, also proving a distinct class difference, effecting how well the child does in education. A funding formula is a formula that gives a school the same amount of funds for each pupil. This can affect a working class child's education because if other schools have a higher fund because they are more popular due to better exam results, then working class children are unlikely to be able to get to go that school. They will be silt-shifted to a less popular school which has lower exam results because of its lack of funding due to its lack of pupils. This also gives us an example of how schools ‘cream-skim’, they select the higher ability pupils, who gain the best results and cost less to teach. These students will be more appealing as they have essential things that schools need. Once again, it’s a division of class. Working class students will not be able to break free of their labels; forever restricting them through education. Some schools do change their image and ethos to enable them to attract the best students they can. Schools want to educate middle class children as this will provide the school with the funding and recognition they want. Sociologist Sheila McRae, found that at the very top, you will find highly selective 6th form colleges, attracting middle class students and providing them with academic courses leading to university and professional careers. Then in the middle, are general further education colleges, who cater for mainly working class students and provide largely vocational courses. Then she found, at the bottom, were government funded training organisations, providing low level courses leading to low paid jobs. Here, it is clear that there is a huge separation between the classes. The schools want the middle class to help them do better; therefore they will cater best for them. By changing the outlook of a school, they are able to attract a certain person. This will then lead them to good exam results, good funding, enable them to successfully ‘cream skim’ and ‘silt shift’, helping them be the best school they can. This is a continuous thing.

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