Education Essay

1300 words - 5 pages

Sociology essay:Assess the claim that the main aim of educational policy over the last 25 years had been to create an education market (20 marks)Some sociologists such as Marx would argue that the main aim of the government reform in education over the last 25 years has been to create an education market (marketization) which perhaps had a lot of negative effects on society. However, others such as Functionalists, may disagree and say that the main aim of educational reform has been to help solve inequality in society.In 1988 the Education reform act was introduced. This was a key act because it made six changes to the education system including; Ofsted inspections, tests at 7,11 and 14 (SATs), reduced the control that schools had over their budget (it was handed over to local authorities), opting out (schools that were maintained by grants), city technical schools and a national curriculum. These changes contributed massively to the marketization of education because they now gave parents the power and choice over what school would be best for their children. Sociologists argue that marketization is positive because it has bettered schools and made them more effective/efficient because of the competition with other schools.In 1988 there was other changes made to the education system. These included Vocational education being introduced; this meant children began to do work experience as part of their school curriculum, applied GCEs and NVQs. These changes were made to give the student a better, skilled future in the workforce; to familiarise them with the bigger world that is not all exams and school work. Also, National League Tables were brought forward, this meant all exam results were circulated publicly. - This promoted marketization further by making competition more brutal. After 1988 a lot of policies changed the standards of education by funding them more; Formula funding (schools are funded largely on how many students they attract, this funding was seen as a reward to motivate the school to continue in its success), specialised schools (schools will receive extra funding to specialise in one certain area; technology, music, maths etc.), and more money for nurseries and smaller primary schools and classes (classes of thirty children only, makes focussing on students better - increases efficiency). Increased tuition fees were introduced, these did not necessarily improve educational standards, but they did set the standard between rich, higher efficient schools and poorer, lower class schools; which once again, contributed to the social inequality in society.Marxist sociologists believe that these policies and the marketization benefit only a parentocracy. A parentocracy is a system where a child's education is increasingly dependent upon the wealth and wishes of parents, rather than the ability and efforts of pupils. Because only wealthy families can afford these schools it means that social inequality between the rich and poor...

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