Outline some of the ways in which Marketisation and Selection Policies may produce social class differences in educational achievement (12 Marks)

Published: 2021-06-19 10:20:04
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Marketisation is when schools become more business-like. This could be competition; schools strive to get to the top of league tables, they want the best grades and results, and they try to provide the best. Marketisation introduced funding formula, exam league tables and competition between schools. Due to the Marketisation of schools and the education system, sociologists have found that there is now an A to C economy and educational triage. Due to this change schools are now under immense pressure to stream and select pupils. For schools to receive good funding and pupils they need to achieve a good league table.
Due to the league table sociologists, Gillborn and Youdell found that it creates what they call a ‘educational triage’. Gillborn and Youdell describe this as the sorting of pupils with a school. Their idea separates pupils into three categories; those who will pass anyway, borderline pupils (D-C) and hopeless students. Their study found that teachers were likely to base the student’s ability on class. Those from a working class background are likely to be the ‘hopeless cases’ therefor the students were given no academic help and were ignored.
Due to this label, Gillborn and Youdell believe this will lead the students to believing they’re in fact not intelligent and the self-fulfilling prophecy will lead to failure. In some cases the educational triage helps individual students who are C/D borderline, however it therefor does hinder the lower/ high grade students, as they are likely to be ignored due to them having either a very low or have a very high chance of passing. Schools, due to Marketisation, are also under pressure to pick and select ‘ideal pupils’ which are usually middle-class students.
They will gain the school they attend higher grades and therefor a higher position in the educational league tables. Schools which achieve good rakings within league tables are most likely to attract more middle-class pupils and then will therefor improve the schools overall results and make the school popular. A school which is popular will receive more funding and thereby improve the schools results and so on, likewise an under achieving school will continue on a downward spiral. In 1993, Will Barlett found that popular schools were therefor likely to cream skin and silt- shift.
League tables therefor lead schools to marketize themselves to the public in order to attract middle-class children as they think they will most probably achieve higher grades leading to higher funding. Marketisation aims to attract middle-class students and not working-class students which may produce social class differences in educational achievement. Will Barlett argued in 1993 that Marketisation leads to schools cream skimming and silt-shifting. Cream skimming in education means that schools select higher ability pupils (mainly middle-class children) who gain the best results and therefor cost less to educate.
Silt-Shifting however is the idea that schools also off load pupils with learning difficulties who are there for expensive to teach and will cost the school more money than the average child. This can disadvantage working class students in several ways. One way it disadvantages working-class students is by using home and school contracts. Selective schools usually require parents to sign a document explaining the schools expectations of the students before being offered a place.
Sociologist Gewirtz explained that one individual school required parents to “ensure attendance and punctuality …” Schools do this as they will be attracting the right sort of parents and children. This technique is used to discourage working-class students and parents from applying if they are not willing to work or encourage their children to achieve their best. This technique within marketization also favours middle-class students as their parents are most likely to care about their education. Overall, Marketisation and Selection Policies do in fact produce social class differences in educational achievement.
Firstly, league tables are likely to create an educational triage which seems to favour middle-class children more so than working-class children as they are likely to be labelled as hopeless. Next, league tables are designed to attract middle-class families and finally schools try to discourage working-class parents from sending their children to popular schools. We can gather from sociologist’s research that Marketisation and Selection Policies do produce social class differences in educational achievement.

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