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Post-war inequalities in British health and education

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Unit: Social Class Essay Question Post war improvements in education and health have reduced social class inequalities and have resulted in improved life chances for all.' Discuss the accuracy of this statement. The Education act 1944, radically overhauled education in England and Wales. One of the ground-breaking results of the Act was to educate and mobilise women and the working class. It lead to the introduction of the tripartite system which took children, who would other wise have been in the work house, and gave them free school places. The system was intended to allocate pupils to schools best suited to their abilities and aptitudes by streaming them into different schools, Secondary Modern or Grammar for the high achievers, via a test undertaken at 11 years old. The 11+ test did enable mobility for working class children but only those extremely gifted, as in reality the number of grammar schools for the academically inclined remained unchanged and were mostly filled with the middle classes. By the mid 1950's there was a growing dissatisfaction on the left with the results of the Tripartite System. Some such as Graham Savage of the London County Council became convinced that the only way to bring about equality was by putting everyone through the same schools. ...read more.


Further more 'most of the working class pupils who were successful, came from homes where the mothers were "sunken middle class." They wanted their children to do well and 'expressed much parental interest,' Bowes et al (1990, p119). This is because parental interest not only has a direct affect on the motivations and values of a child, but also on the school environment. Middle class parents, who often have more spare time and disposable income to invest in fundraising and extra curricular activities, can raise the standards of a school immeasurably. Making school a fun place to be, that is enjoyed by all the family, creates the positive learning environment that children thrive in. Quite understandably most working class parents are to busy "earning a crust" to find the time and energy to invest in such endeavors and as such adopt an "Education is the schools job" attitude. It is also understood that language has had a negative affect on the working class's academic attainment. Professor Basil Bernstein has shown that the middle and lower classes use different patterns of speech. He called these patterns linguistic codes. According to Bernstein, most middle class children have been socialised in both restricted and elaborate codes, and are fluent in each. Whereas working class children are limited to the restricted code. ...read more.


What ever your view of the NHS, it is clear that it has not resulted in improved life chances for all. It has not improved the level of equality between the middle and working class, and has not improved the likelihood of meritocracy. When it comes to education, the difference between the work houses, where children were seen as simply small adults, and the primary education and childhood pleasures enjoyed by today's youth are vast. Whilst the opportunities offered to under privileged children and likelihood of meritocracy has clearly improved, it is not to the extent necessary for equality. The Commission on social mobility report (2009) confirms this with its conclusion that 'equal opportunities needs to be Britain's top priority.' Mrs Jodieanne Dainter Reference list BOOKS Bowes, Alison; Gleeson, Denis; Smith, Pauline (1990) Sociology: A Modular Approach, Oxford, Oxford University Press Blundell and Griffiths, (2008) Sociology Since 2000, Lewes, Connect Publications. Browne, k. (2006), An introduction to sociology, Cambridge. Polity Press. Haralambos, Heald, Holborn, (2004), Sociology Themes and Perspectives. Collins Educational News paper articles Gaitskell, H, cited by Chitty, Letter to The Times 5 July 1958, London, The Times. Web pages National Child Development Study http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/text.asp?section=0001000200030003 accessed 19/11/2009 Worsfold. A, Parents and Educational Attainment http://www.change.freeuk.com/learning/socthink/attainment.html, accessed 19/11/2009 ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 5 Inequalities in health and education.doc ...read more.

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