1988 education act

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1988 Education Reform Act

Butler introduced the first of many free Schools in the U.K, named the tripartite system; education had become free and compulsory for all children between the ages of five and fifteen. The tripartite system demanded that every child entering secondary school would have to sit an 11+ in order for them to be matched to an appropriate school based on their result. Butler’s “great” reform act had then hastily diminished and became the bipartite system meaning only grammar and secondary modern schools were used; one school for children who had passed their 11+ exams and another for children who had not passed and were considered more “vocational” (Browne, 2011:175). In 1975 the labour government had tried to abolish all grammar schools, to help gain equality within the education system but a party of conservatives in Manchester were against this ideology as they were keen on keeping the grammar schools open for the purpose of a functionalist society. That is why till this day there are such schools still standing that are mostly politically conservative. The National Curriculum was then established whilst Margaret Thatcher was in power. The conservatives started a programme named “The New Right”, this was to privatise certain public sectors meaning that schools all over the U.K were able to have a choice in becoming private and hiding away from public eyes; thus only being accessible to wealthier families (Nitta, 2008:166). By 1979 Margaret Thatcher had been voted in as Prime minister and brought more social class inequality to Great Britain by 1980. “Between the early 80s and the late 90s, the proportion of poorer children who graduate from university had risen by only 3%, compared to 26% from wealthier families,” (Sheperd, 2009). Cuts had been made, unemployment was spreading quickly, the rich were becoming richer and the poor were becoming poorer. We are now seeing the effects of the conservative party in today’s economy and especially within the education system. They have tended to stick to a functionalist regime in society and a meritocratic order in education. This is something that Marxists’ oppose completely. Marxists believe that the education system is completely corrupt as it has no intention on helping the poor and working class. They believe that the education system mirrors the system of employment in which oppresses the poor and working class, this belief is proven as you can make a clear distinction with the hierarchy in education; head teachers, deputy head, head of year, teachers and then students. This is a mirrored effect of the employment system; vice president, C.E.O, regional manager, manager, managers assistant, supervisor, supervisors assistant, team leaders, workers. What Marxists have pointed out is that this is a system that is used on children constantly from a young age as part of a control system (Barcan, 1993:161). Marxists theorise that the middle class benefits more from education than the working class as the national curriculum is designed to suit the rich. This has a great impact on the working class as they are not able to support their children through education due to their low household income and not being able to afford books and equipment to help their children learn. According to Karl Marx, “the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force.” He believed, the people that make up the ruling class are determined by how educated they are and by how much “common sense” they have; thus meaning people that can ideologies a system for the working class to follow. It has been believed that the working class are not accepted as people who have enough “common sense” to be thinkers and to be able to succeed in life as that of the middle class (Open University, 1974:176). Society can see that the majority of working class are more likely to take on vocational education and secure a career that is...
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