Educational Policy and Inequality - Selective V Non-Selective.


Educational Policy

The actions and programmes of government bodies and agencies that aim to deal with a problem or achive a goal in education. Educational policies are often passed as laws by parliament.

General aims of educational policies:

1. To create equality of educational opportunity.

2. To create a meritocracy.

3. To shape selection.

4. To increase choice.

5. To decide who has control over education.

6. To create an education market place and competition.

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Tripartite System (1994)

Policy Issue: Shaping types of school and inequality - selective or non selective education.

  • FREE
  • 11+

Reducing: Upward social mobility, social integration, appropriate for talents and abilities.

Reproducing: Favoured MC, divisive and reproduced class structure, legitimate inequality, 11 too early.

However, it did provide free secondary education to the WC for the first time and therefore was an improement on what went before.

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Comprehensive Schools (1965)

Policy Issue: Shaping types of school and inequality - selective or non selective education.

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Reducing: Prevents wasted talent, Moon (1990), equality of opportunity, social integration.

Reproducing: Set/stream students, some recieve more funding, 'myth of meritocracy', mixed abillity can have negative consequences.

However, the way they are run in practice means they create their own social class divisions. Thus they still serve to reproduce inequality.

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Private Schools

Policy Issue: Fits in with policy because it is a current example of marketisation. Also governments have legislated to allow private schools to have tax breaks by giving them charitable status (worth £165m a year).


Reducing: Offer scholarships, not restricted by government educational policy, parents have more choice, excellant exam results.

Reproducing: Split society in two, re-create the class structure, comprehensive schools will never truly integrate.

However, postmodernists believe they do provide vital chocie in the education system.

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