The class structure f contemporary Britain has changed significantly since the writings f Karl Marx and Max Weber in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As far back as 1959 the Crowther Report identified a link between low incomes and low attainment levels. This was followed in 1963 by the Newsom report that found many secondary modern schools were deficient and argued that the less privileged 50 per cent f children did not receive their fair share f resources. Recent research from the Institute f Education has shown that children from poorer families are no more likely to gain qualifications than they were a generation ago.
A study carried out by Barbara Jefferis, a research fellow at the Institute f Child Healthfound a strong link between social background and cognitive development. The research carried out found the gap between educational attainment between the richest and the poorest in society widened as time went on.
For some children the first step in education is nursery education. Although not compulsory nursery education is now available to all three and four year olds. A scheme set up by the government provides nursery vouchers for all three and four year olds. These vouchers are used to purchase OFSTED inspected nursery education. ...
High quality nursery education may be available although only parents with a higher income may be able to afford the extra costs than those provided by the voucher scheme. Many educational experts consider that pre school education is a vital foothold in education. If a child is unable to achieve the best possible start in education it may reflect on their educational achievement. The government's response to this is the Sure Start scheme. Sure Start is aimed at pre school children which as well as focusing on education focuses on health. In recognizing that a child's early years are vital to their future success, Sure Start provides better opportunities for young children. Support is also offered to parents in preparing them to assist their child to succeed. As most parents f children living in poverty may have a limited education themselves support for parents is essential in helping their child succeed. Very early education begins in the family home through interaction, as education can break the cycle f poverty, parental education and parenting skills may be more important than economic factors. (Feinstein 1998, 625-658)
Deprivation may effect a child's education in many ways. Children that live in poverty often live in the most deprived areas f a neighbourhood. These areas often have schools which may be at the lower end f performance league tables. League tables show that schools in areas f social housing or with high numbers f private rented accommodation perform less well than schools in more affluent areas. Schools whose pupils are mostly from large inner city council estates are often referred to as sink state schools, hardly aspiring for those pupils that attend them. As