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Outline and assess New Labours strategies and theories on educational policies

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Nishtar Hussain Outline and assess New Labour?s strategies and theories on educational policies New Labour strategies and theories on educational policies have contributed significantly on influencing a better change on education since the 1988 Education Act. There were four major changes which had been made to the education system; the changes were introduced in order to manage the diverse problems with had recently emerged. Machin and Vignoles (2006) outlined these four categories as; secondary education standards falling, limited participation in post-16 (sixth form), students having a poor grasp of basic skills and unequal participation in higher education. The classified problems were not only problems identified by New Labour; New Right too had similar concerns about the education system. However New Right have previously been criticised as they were more concerned regarding the problems surrounding the participation in Post 16 and the poor grasp of basic skills rather than all four of them as a whole. ...read more.


The second problem which was identified by New Labour was the limited participation in post-16, they considered two significant ways in which they would be able to increase this participation. The first idea was to develop vocational courses, for example; GNVQ?s, modern apprenticeships and diplomas. Sociologist Ball (2008) identified that 40% of students will take vocational courses. By introducing more vocational courses, they would be able to improve the perceived skills deficiencies of British Workers and give themselves more of an ability to gain work. However a rising concern is regarding the division between vocational and non-vocational students, New Labour recognise this division as a concern with the development of the knowledge economy. Ball identifies that a significant amount of education has been ?geared to the knowledge economy and education is now being dominated by its subservience to the requirements of the economy?. This however would lead to the creation and reinforcement of inequality within divisions of class and ethnicity. ...read more.


The New Labour took action by introducing within the National Curriculum, national literacy and numeracy hours in primary schools. However, it was difficult to estimate whether the National Curriculum was effective in improving the basic skills of students as there was little room for comparing work, although it was easy to identify that literacy and numeracy hours did have some influences. Sociologist Machin and McNally (2004) have identified that literacy hours did have a significant influence on improving reading and English attainment as boys who took part in the hour improved their reading skills. This helped to reduce gender inequality in education as both genders are given equal amount of time and opportunity to improve on their basic skills giving them an equal chance in the future. This shows how schools are able to have a significant influence on making a difference to their students? results if the education institution implements the right strategies. The last problem which was identified by New Labour was that there was an unequal participation in higher education. ...read more.

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