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Education social policy. Key changes in the development of education; such as the tri-partite system, comprehensive schools and the national curriculum shall be discussed, as well as the particularly significant acts of parliament that have shaped the ed

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Education is important for individuals' personal development, socialisation and future career prospects, and also for providing a skilled workforce to meet the needs of society. Key changes in the development of education; such as the tri-partite system, comprehensive schools and the national curriculum shall be discussed, as well as the particularly significant acts of parliament that have shaped the education system. Up until 1880 educational opportunities were extremely limited, and education was only available to the wealthy as they could afford to pay; however even then it was mainly boys who were educated. Girls' education was largely neglected as it was thought unnecessary; as they were to be married off, rather than enter a career. The Mundella Act was introduced in 1880 and made education compulsory for children between the ages of five and ten, though still not free; it was not until 1891 that education was provided for free by the state. An initial problem with making education compulsory was that it was not well enforced to begin with, (Sociology.org) and many people of the working class were unhappy with the new legislation. ...read more.


The comprehensive system succeeded at creating a more (but not entirely) equal education for children than that provided by the previous system. There are some criticisms of the comprehensive system; for example, it was introduced very gradually, and in some areas not at all, due to the ability of schools to 'opt out'. Furthermore the continuation of private schools means that the wealthy can still pay for a better education, and the classes were not always brought together as intended; because pupils of comprehensives reflect the socio-economic makeup of their catchment area, and some were opposed to the new system on the grounds that those students' who were academically stronger would be 'held back'. It has also been argued that due to 'streaming' comprehensive schools do not offer an equal education, but rather offers the tri-partite system under the same roof. The Conservatives came in to power in 1979, and wished to make changes to the now established comprehensive system; as they believed it was failing to provide a sufficiently skilled work force that could meet the needs of the economy. The 1988 Education Reform Act introduced several major changes including, 'open enrolment'; to allow parents greater choice in what schools to send their children to and the funding of schools became based on how many pupils attended. ...read more.


The education system has changed significantly over time and no doubt society has benefitted greatly from it. Educating children is now normal and compulsory whereas it used to be a privilege exclusive to the wealthy. The tri-partite system was a major development in education, but was eventually abolished in favour of comprehensive schools due to the very apparent inequalities it sustained; the comprehensive system has proved to be far more equal, though not entirely, as evident by the patterns in differential educational attainment of children. Another major development was the implementation of the national curriculum; introduced by the 1988 Education Reform Act which also introduced polices to produce an 'education market'. The education market was maintained by the Labour government (who kept many Conservative polices when they came into power): it is believed to help keep standards in education high, but nevertheless is criticised as it is blamed for some of the remaining inequalities in education. Vocational education has continued to gain popularity since around the 1980`s, and there are now many vocational courses available in further education institutions. 1,990 words Class Notes/ Hand-outs (2009) Haralambos, M. Holborn, M. (2008). Sociology Themes and Perspectives. HarperCollins Limited. London. Alcock, P. May, M. (2003). The Student`s Companion to Social Policy. Blackwell Ltd. London. http://www.sociology.org.uk/as4e2g.htm (cited on 3/5/09) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_education_in_England (cited on 3/5/09) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripartite_System (cited on 3/5/09) ...read more.

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