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Social policy and society - Essay Example

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It was thus inevitable to formulate a policy that would reform the education system to deal with those issues leading to the Education Reform Act 1988 by the conservative government. The big question that needs to be answered is whether this Act was able to achieve what it was set to achieve. As we shall see in the rest of this work, the 1988 Act though efficient in some cases did not manage to eliminate class inequalities but rather strengthened them (Chowdry, Muriel & Sibieta, 2010; Freedman, 2010; Garner, 2010). The aim of this paper is to discuss the intentions and impact of Education Reform Act 1988 on state schooling. The paper will be divided into three sections. First, the intentions of the Act will be discussed. Secondly, the paper will discuss the impact of the Education Act on state schooling and lastly, the efforts made by successive governments in trying to solve inequalities in education. I will argue that the labour government has made various attempts to ensure equality in education opportunities to all regardless of class, race, gender but much still needs to be done if the problems are to be resolved once and for all. (Freedman, 2010; Smithers & Robinson, 2010). The labour government, conservatives and liberal democrats have promised much especially the introduction of pupil premiums but it remains to be seen how effective these policies will be in improving state education (Whitty, 2009). What were the intentions of the Education Reform Act 1988? According to the lectures, the aim of state education is to fulfil individual, economic and social needs of society. Individuals require education so as to advance in life and to have increased earning power (Lecture 9). This is due to the fact that education is the source of employment and consequently future income. Education also serves to fulfil economic needs of the nation by developing human capital which is vital especially in the current knowledge-based economy. A nation is able to use its human capital resources to compete in the increasingly global competitive environment. Socially, education is aimed at enhancing social integration by ensuring “equal opportunities for all” (Smithers & Robinson, 2010: 1). This is enhanced by offering free education, ensuring the deprived individuals get same education as children from high economic status background, ensuring gender equality in education and eliminating racial inequalities. The type of education system in place also either enhances cultural assimilation or multiculturalism. The developments in education policy can better be understood by its aims. The 1944 Education Act was very vital in development of state education in Britain. First, it introduced universal free compulsory education up to age 15 and later age 16. This was to ensure equal opportunity for all despite class, race or gender. The Act also saw the introduction of tripartite system of education whereby children from primary school could join three types of secondary education: grammar school, secondary modern and secondary technical (Lecture 9). Admission to secondary schools was based on ability; passing of the 11+ exam which tested numeracy and literacy. However, most children from middle class were admitted to grammar schools, majority of pupils to the secondary modern and few to technical schools since they were few in number. As a result, the problem of class inequalities ...Show more
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Name of student: Topic: Lecturer: Date of Presentation: Introduction Education is key to the growth of any economy and as such a key area in social policy making. Education in Britain has undergone numerous changes over decades in order to solve the social and economic problems facing the society…
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Social policy and society
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