Inequality in British Schools

2111 Words Jan 24th, 2013 9 Pages
Is there a problem of Inequality in British schools?
The educational system is one of the most influential institutions in society as it provides young people with a vast amount of knowledge, attitudes and skills. These are acquired formally through set lessons or informally through the ‘hidden curriculum’ which provides the unofficial and unplanned consequences of school experience. Social Inequality is one of the major preoccupations of sociology. The relationship between inequality and education has been studied for many years. Although it seems obvious that educational success is simply down to an individual’s capabilities and motivation, sociological research shows that the inequalities in social class, gender and race and ethnicity
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On the other hand if the teacher labels a pupil as ‘un co-operative’ or from a ‘poor’ background, this can cause low self-esteem and the pupil will be likely to fail to achieve much success.
The Neo Marxist’s perspective on class stratification in Britain claims that schools create a ‘false class consciousness’ so it seems that they promote equal opportunities for all, but they really reproduce a capitalist division of labour, preparing young people for class-determined careers in the labour market.
Willis (1977) accepts the Marxist’s view on education being closely linked to the needs of the capitalist’s system; however he does not agree with the idea of there being a direct link between education and the economy. (Macionis. J, Plummer.K, 2008)
His study found that “poorer children often grow up in environments where people see little hope of upward social mobility and rebel against the system rather than trying to conform with in. In such an environment adults often discourage rather than encourage success at school.” (Macionis. J, Plummer.K, 2008)
Social class is not the only inequality in Britain’s schooling. Sociologists have also found a link between gender and academic success. Until the late 1980’s there was high concern about the underachievement of girls. Societies had been structured to consider schooling more important for males than for females. Although the gap in gender
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