According roles and responsibilities. People would have worn

According to Breen et al (2009),
social class is one of the oldest and most persistent inequalities in
society. In the past, people were aware of their social background and their
expected roles and responsibilities. People would have worn different clothes,
behaved in different ways and had a very different culture from each other and
they would have accepted this as a perfectly normal element of behaviour. However,
in education children from different social backgrounds in the past were
educated differently. Whereas children from wealthy backgrounds were educated
at home or would have attended public schools; children from poorer background
did attend school but were working for low wages in unrewarding and insecure
jobs to supplement the family income.

According to Obelkevich
& Catterall (1994, pp.128), the issue surrounding education remains in the
public eye since the post-war years continuously. Its focus and key issue were based on
the structure of schooling and whether grammar schools should be abolished and
the comprehensive school system to be implemented. In 1944, the Labour
government implemented the Education Act, which created a three-tier school
system involving secondary schools, which ensured the provision of free
education for all children. This was known as the tripartite system, which
catered for children aged between 11 to 15 years, and divided the children in
to three distinct types of schooling; these were grammar schools for students
who were deemed to be academically able, secondary modern schools to teach
practical subjects, and secondary technical schools to offer mechanical,
scientific and engineering skills. In other words, ‘brain, non-manual, manual’
mirroring the three traditional divisions of male labour (Weiner, 1998). However,
entry to the schools were determined through a universal examination, which
known as the eleven-plus (Simon, 2000).

In theory, this allowed
children to be allocated to the school they best suited their academic ability.
Therefore, children who scored
highly in the 11+ exams would have gone to grammar school, which was only a
fifth of children each year, and those who did not pass went to secondary
modern schools, except for
a very small percentage that went to technical schools (Jones, 2016). Lowe (2012) identified that politicians
who approved the notion of the tripartite system genuinely believed that such a
differentiated secondary system offered the best education to disadvantaged
children. Lowe (2012) also stated that working class children benefited from
the provision of free secondary education, thus their opportunities for upward
social mobility, (moving up the social class structure) was increased. They saw
the establishment of a universal secondary school system and the raising of the
school leaving age as the key to removing class distinctions. In which they
hoped the 1944 Education Act would lead to a greater flow of working class
children to grammar schools.

However, there were major
flaws that encountered by the tripartite system, one of the criticism being about
the problem of the correct selection of the children according to their ‘age,
aptitude and ability’ at the age of 11 years old. As well as introducing a system,
which was weight against working class children. Unlike some of their middle
class counterparts, many working class children did not have access rights to
extra private coaching for the 11+ exams, and those who did not pass the exam
and were therefore unable to attend a grammar school often felt they had received
a poorer education and was branded as failures at the modern schools (ref). Furthermore, it acknowledged
that the 11+ exams did not test mechanical aptitude and therefore accused of
being good at selecting future clerks, civil servants and schoolteachers but
bad at finding future engineers.

Overall, the selection of
the tripartite system did
not give a desirable result. By 1949, it began to emerge that about 25% of
children selected to attend grammar schools could not cope with an academic
education and were leaving schools early. While modern secondary schools were
more successful in terms of the examination results than some grammar schools.
However, it recognised that many very able children whose ability developed strongly
after the age of 10 remained misallocated by 11+ exams (ref). 
Overall, the unfortunate result was that there was no clear concept of
the secondary modern schools as they just left after selecting the more able
children to the grammar and technical schools, which resulted in young people leaving
schools at 16 without any recognised qualifications (ref).

Due too many criticisms, the tripartite
system as well as the 11+ examinations were abolished by 1964. Oakland (2006)
indicated that the principles regarding the selective system were wrong, as it
is too early to decide who should go to grammar school or secondary modern
school at the age 11. In addition, it indicated that the 11+ examination was
narrowing the education and testing showed the weakness. From 1964, the Labour
government made a great decision that selective education system should be
replaced by non-selective system, which is known as comprehensive schools that
allow many more children to access free education and have the chance to thrive,
academically and socially (ref).
However, comprehensive reform has never been fully achieved, as there are significant
number of grammars schools that remain which occupied by high ability middle
class children reducing comprehensive schools to secondary modern.

According to (ref), the comprehensive school system
could not remove of the notion of disadvantage in society, which highly
affected children response to education. The comprehensive system did not widen
cross class friendships as well all widening career aspirations of working
class children. The notion that ‘social structures can be changed through
educational reform is a liberal myth’ (Sanderson, 1987). Overtime, the
comprehensive system has formed even worse educational opportunities of working
class children. (Ref)
stated that all comprehensive schools are equal but then again in reality,
schools are positioned in more affluent catchment areas that become more
academically orientated as more parents expected their children to continue
their education at University level.  As
a result, bright children from the deprived areas are forced to attend schools
that are inadequate for their needs and unable to fulfil their potential. Noticeably,
present comprehensive system needs reforming, but on the other hand, there is a
body of evidence against the tripartite system. There are arguments in favour
and against both of these systems. The selective system provided a better
education but only for the minority. Where’s the comprehensive system seems to
offer equal opportunities but been accused of holding back development of more
able children.


I'm Mary!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out