• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss in what ways social class impacts on educational experiences.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss in what ways social class impacts on educational experiences. Education is an essential part of an individual's secondary socialisation. It teaches and encourages children to learn and conform to the norms and values that are expected of them in their particular society. In Britain, pre industrialisation, an education system didn't exist. However, with the rapid expanding economy there became a greater necessity for specialised schooling that would create an educated, capable and skilled workforce. Most Western societies such as Germany, Holland and Switzerland achieved some sort of national system for education by the mid 1800's. Britain, however, was far more reluctant and compulsory education wasn't established until between 1870 and World War II. Since its creation, the education system has gone through many changes and developments to what it is today, introduced by the Labour government in 1997, comprehensive in nature; nursery, primary, secondary, further and higher education. Before the 1994 Education Act was introduced, schooling in the UK was unorganised, with all children only being educated up until the age of fourteen. The Education Act began to see several major changes, including raising the school leaving age to fifteen, free secondary education for all and to attempt at equality and opportunity for all, regardless of their class. Although, with the Education Act came a tripartite system which establish three types of schooling; grammar, technical and secondary modern. Allocation to each of these schools required children to sit an eleven plus examination, to identify which of these schools they would be best suited to. Those that successful passed attended the grammar or technical school. ...read more.


Due to the postcode lottery, schools are usually allocated to what area the child lives in (generally the school closest to their home). Most of these working class schools will have large class sizes, low quality of education therefore less future opportunities. And because of the lack of capital available they will have less access to resources such as books, educational trips, a room of their own to study in, own their own computer, have a private tutor or go to a private school. The middle classes on the other hand, have far more choices and opportunities when it comes to education. Firstly they are more likely to be able to afford private education, therefore can choose the school and its location. Children that attend these private schools will have small class sizes, good quality of education and better future prospects than those in the working classes because there is more encouragement from their school, teachers and parents for them to succeed. Life chances are also privileges and don't just include what goes on within the classroom. These can be recreational activities such as sailing, piano lessons etc. Again, those in the ruling classes are more inclined to have the opportunities to carry out these extra curricula activities because they can afford to do so, or it could be that the private school that the child attends is more likely to have them as part of the curriculum. Health is another issue that will affect and concern all classes in relation to education. ...read more.


For society to function, all these occupational roles must be filled. Davis and Moore believed that the most important jobs such as doctors need to be given to the most qualified and most intelligent individuals. This is done through a 'sifting and sorting' process, linking it to the school - if you are a working class child at a poor school, their job is likely to be poor also. Marxism and Functionalism are both macro structural theories which look at society as a whole, ignoring small groups and/or individuals. Marxism theory looks at the way the social structures of society affect the working classes, while functionalist looks at the social structures but emphasises on harmony, integration and stability. Therefore Marxists and functionalists have completely different ideologies on the education system. Functionalists believe it to be meritocratic, the idea that everyone has equal opportunity to achieve, or that position and reward is based on effort or ability, which Marxists reject. They believe that the educational status is based upon social class rather than meritocracy. Both perspectives argue that occupational roles are dictated i.e. working class children will get working class jobs, but both fail to recognise that there are some manual workers children that do well in education and therefore do find a successful job. It has nothing to do with nature or DNA. Marxist views are too deterministic; they focus too much on the class system and ignore other important factors such as gender and ethnicity. And it is extremely unlikely that all children internalise all the norms and values that are transmitted by teacher and/or the hidden curriculum. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification essays

  1. The education system is meritocratic

    she spoke about her triple systems theory in which equality will only occur when we take into consideration the triple impact of sex. Class and race on a person's life experiences and because these things can either act as advantages or disadvantages to a persons education their can't be a

  2. Explain the influence of social class and gender on educational achievement

    Other explanations show that the occupational roles available to women such as office work, teaching and nursing generally do not require A-levels, thus continuance of education seemed pointless. However as lees' study 'Losing Out' (1986)

  1. Changes in the social structure of education and its impact on class and gender ...

    measures to combat truancy, involving all sections of the community in education and the development of the different types of schools to raise achievement amongst the worst academically performing sections of society. The vocational education was developed to raise achievement through social inclusion.

  2. Identify current patterns of ill health and inequality in the UK. Explain probable ...

    Crime and fear of crime can affect the quality and health of people's lives. Crime and violence doesn't just cause physical injuries, but can make victims angry, shocked, leave them living in fear and leave them feeling feel like they have had their privacy invaded.

  1. 'why do some do better at school than others?' This essay explores the home ...

    Ethnicity The minorities who do least well are Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and Afro- Caribbean because they are from working - class backgrounds. Working - class children may find it hard to adapt to the English needed in schools. Asian children are likely to be bilingual.

  2. How do the three factors of class, gender and ethnicity affect achievement in education?

    The majority of children said the presence of a male teacher made them behave better and 42% said it made them worked harder. The introduction of coursework was an advantage for girls, as they are better organised and use their free time to do extra work as opposed to boys

  1. Should we assume that stratification is natural and therefore inevitable? Is class merely about ...

    The idea of social status also separates individuals not only physically but sometimes even mentally. Status in class in not ascribed but it is achieved. Factors like income, occupation, wealth, education, life-styles etc. decides the class of an individual. Gisbert truly said that ?A social class is a category of

  2. Social class is no longer relevant in modern Britain. Discuss

    These two groups are in conflict with each other, therefore Marxism is known as a conflict theory.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work