A ,a Children from poor homes are disadvantaged in education as they are nearly a year behind when they start School and nearly two years behind by the time they are fourteen. They also tend to have a far less positive view of learning, School and themselves. A,b Two factors that might help explain gender differences in subject choice are that Teachers tend to be less strict with boys than they are with girls as they already expect boys to underachieve at school, be disruptive in class and be generally less tidy in their work.
If boys do well in school it can sometimes be seen as feminine and due to peer pressure from other boys their age tend not to try in education. The “Lad Culture” that is seen today also plays a part in this. A,c Sociologists believe that there is a “Hidden Curriculum” in the educational system today. This includes the other fetchers that school has to offer other than that named on the national curriculum. Grading has proved to show children that they have to work hard at to achieve good grades, this follows onto the work place and shows that they have to work hard to achieve in their work.
Punctuality is also a life skill that is taught in education. School uniform and assembly are encouraged as so they can feel part of a team or community and share equality. Some studies have shown the “Hidden Curriculum”, which although is the curriculum that pupils receive on an informal level it is very much based on middle class standards. A,d Educational policies have changed to tackle the problem with pupils from working class backgrounds; this was called the Education Reform Act (1988).
The government wanted to make a more standardised curriculum around the three core subjects of English, Maths and Science, plus seven foundation subjects for pupils aged 5-16. These policies have included Foundation schools that were previously known as grant- maintained schools, and returned them to the control of the local authority so they were more equally funded. Specialist schools were opened and allowed them to select the intake of pupils as these specialised in one particular aspect of the curriculum.
A number of failing schools were identified and a “Fresh Start” policy was instigated. This involved closing a failing school that was generally in a working class area and re launched on the same site. The differences would be that the school would have a new name, new “super head” and staffing and given two years in which to improve statistics. A “New Deal” initiative was brought in to help the long term unemployed, Single mothers, welfare dependent parents and those living in poverty.
These were known as the socially excluded groups and are generally living in deprived inner-city areas. Working class pupils are seen to not have the same style of living as middle class pupils and do not start life with the same knowledge that can assist their education. A lot of the barriers the working class are up against are seen to be through material and cultural deprivation. Children from wealthier backgrounds tend to have more access to books, computers and other educational recourses outside of school compared with working class children.
There is also the factor of middle class parents being able to buy homes in better areas, there for their children going to better schools. This is known as “Selection by Mortgage”. Middle class children are seen to have an advantage over the working class as schools are run with middle-class values. Teachers are known to have a vision of the ideal pupil as being a working class one. Their perception of working class children is that they may be more difficult to control and have no discipline.
In addition, they believe them to be generally lacking in motivation. This results in the working class pupil automatically being at a distinct disadvantage. Although the government has shown ways in which to deal with the disadvantages through educational policies this is evidence that working class children are automatically discriminated against due to their culture and background alone even before they have started their education.