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Analysing Education in Britain. Student fees, Acadamies and Differences in Attainment Levels.

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Sociology - Education Recently there have been big reforms and changes to education. Since the labour party have come out of power and the new coalition party have gained power; consisting of the conservative party and the liberal democrats on May 11 2010. There have been some big reforms put forwards and existing plans stopped or changed. The country was left in greater deficit than France, Germany, and Japan and greater than Greece, Italy and Portugal. They also left one in five young people out of work (Isaby, 2010). This means that the country is going through some big cut backs and changes especially to education. One of the main proposals that have happened this year is the plan to raise student university fees. The coalition's idea is to raise the university fee cap up to �9,000 from �3,225 per academic year; this is an extremely big jump up in fees. There have been strong protests all over the country especially London. Many people believe they are taking away the right to higher education by out-pricing the poor. They fear many people from poor backgrounds will be discouraged from going with the huge debt they may be left in. The government argues that the original model of education is out of date, as more people go to universities these days from 6% 50 years ago to 45% today. They add that for the UK to keep world class universities, they will need extra funding, even though currently Cambridge university is ranked 1st in the world 2011 by the Guardian league table. They suggest it is only fair that those who benefit from Higher Education contribute to it (Barnett, 2010). The Government state how they are trying to keep equality of opportunity by still allowing people to lend the money from the government in the form of student loans. This means that people who do not have enough money to finance themselves or their children's education, they can loan the money off the government and at a low interest. ...read more.


As children on school meals mainly come from the families of the poorest background. It shows how the poorer you are the less likely you are of getting into a top university. A recent study suggests 19% of White British pupils eligible for free school meals do not obtain 5 or more GCSEs. This is a much higher proportion than that for any other ethnic group. Combining gender and ethnic group, 23% of White British boys eligible for free school meals do not obtain 5 or more GCSEs. This is a much higher proportion than that for any other combination of gender, ethnic group and eligibility for free school meals (Palmer, 2010). This also shows the inequality of education given to those from less privileged backgrounds and the help they are not able to access. This unfortunately does not fall in line with the functionalist view where the education system is a ladder of opportunity. People can achieve the best they can in line with their ability. This belief is known as meritocracy, where you are merited and gain from your achievement. The idea of meritocracy from functionalist view was rejected by Bowles and Gintis that capitalist societies are meritocracy, providing genuine equality of opportunity. Children from the wealth and powerful obtain high qualifications and well rewarded jobs irrespective of their abilities, the education system disguises this with its myth of meritocracy. People denied success blame themselves rather than the system. Inequality in society is then legitimated and is made to appear fair (Holborn, M Burrage, P Langley, P, 2009). The children of parents in higher social classes are more likely to stay in post-compulsory education. These children are more likely to achieve examination passes when at school and more likely to go to university. This difference in education achievement has been the same throughout the twentieth century and remains significant of today. (Holborn, M Burrage, P Langley, P, 2009). ...read more.


Another reasons was everyone fighting for themselves no longer jobs for life, this was due to the changes in society. This may have leaded to women wanting more independence (Holborn, M Burrage, P Langley, P, 2009). Since the 1980's both genders began to improve their school performance significantly although the improvement of girls was more rapid. By the mid 1990's there was a strong reversal. Changes in achievement statistics' showed how attention switched to male underachievement. The educational attainment of both males and females has been increasing over recent decades. However the performance of females has performed faster than males. According to Miltsos & Browne (1998) the woman's movement and feminism have raised have raised the expectations and self-esteem of women. By 2006 45% of females but 35% of males obtained two or more A-levels. In 2004/5 57% of people in higher education were female. On average now women are getting better degrees than men, this is now known as the gender gap. Francis & Skelton (2005) found middle-class parents were becoming increasingly conserved about the education and career of their daughters. Furthermore the increasing service sector and part-time work had opened up employment opportunities for women. Francis & Skelton further found in a study in 2005 that more girls aspire to jobs which require degree qualifications (Holborn, M Burrage, P Langley, P, 2009). In conclusion you have been able to see how educational achievement can be affected in different ways. You can see how the educational system can limit an individual's achievement especially through the class differences. Society has limited women's capabilities although in today's society where it is more equal women are outperforming men. Evidence also points out that the government has a strong influence on what an individual can do by lowering their possibilities for example by removing EMA. Furthermore you have seen how gender affects it in today's educational system women are outperforming men. By ethnicity Chinese Asians and doing the best and Chinese girls are doing the greatest. ...read more.

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