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Describe the different ways in which sociologists understand how inequality works within school situations and comment on their validity

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Introduction

Education Describe the different ways in which sociologists understand how inequality works within school situations and comment on their validity Inequality comes in many forms within the school community, whether it is in the social or academic groups, because of colour, wealth or gender and is impossible to avoid. In the first ages of compulsory schooling, the Tripartite System was introduced. This was a system whereby the pupils were tested in the 11+ and the results determined which secondary school they went to. For the bright children there were the Grammar schools, for the mechanically minded they went to the technical schools, and the low achievers went to the secondary modern. This caused much questioning by sociologists due to certain statistics. Halsey, Floud & Martin stated that sons or daughters of professional people had a 1 in 1 chance of going to grammar school, whereas working class children only had a 1 in 10 chance. ...read more.

Middle

Due to the evident social class division caused by the Tripartite System, it was gradually phased out as comprehensives came into action the first one opening in 1952, and was supposed to abolish inequality. However it appears to have failed. Julienne Fard discovered that depending on location, determined the quality of education received. In deprived inner city schools they did not achieve the same level as supposedly middle class schools in the suburbs. It was stated that 'comprehensives were the tripartite system under one roof'. It was also found that another inequality occurred relating to academic ability. Dale & Griffith investigated and found that working class children were predominantly in the lower streams, and those that did achieve were most likely to be friends with middle class pupils. This apparent new division was caused by the 'New Directions' scheme which introduced setting and streaming bringing with it academic and social status. Again this was thought of legitimising inequality preparing for adult life and the inequality it brings, supported by Stanworth & Giddens who found that 60-90% of top positions were occupied by 5% of ex students that attended private schools. ...read more.

Conclusion

Teacher's expectations of Asian pupils are to be courteous and hard working. Also including the gender issue they also found that Asian girls are often over looked. Byrnes highlighted the unequal government spending on girls in education, although perhaps this is not so applicable today as girls continue to achieve higher than boys. In reference to all the above theories it is impossible to pinpoint one primary reason for inequality as too many factors are involved. It is only to be concluded that socialisation starts at home and perhaps the importance of education is not instilled enough into the individuals. However this can always be counter argued that even the brightest and most hard working student will find it hard to achieve in an crowed class room with little or no facilities, or if they are de-motivated because of teachers expectations. Nevertheless as the education system evolves inequalities are being reduced with more working class students getting to university and the gender issue not being a real focus anymore. The racial element is still evident however, and perhaps that is the next concern to be addressed. ?? ?? ?? ?? Michelle Lambe Education 13A 1 ...read more.

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