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Examine Sociological Views of the Ways in Which Educational Policies May Affect the Achievement of Pupils.

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January 2003 –
Examine sociological views of the ways in which educational policies may affect the achievement of pupils.
There are many Educational Acts enforced in England to help improve and stabilise the education of young people in our country. With these acts in place it encourages more people to want to do well in school and it also helps to provide an education for those who are less fortunate and without it could not go to school. Some of the acts are: “The 1870 Forster Act”, “1944 Butlers Act”, “1976 Comprehensive Act”, “The 1979 Conservative Policy”, “The 1988 Education Act” and “The 1997 New Labour Education Policy”
Before the 19th century education was limited to those that were born in to a ‘well off’ family. There were only two main types of schooling, Grammar and Public. There were Charity ran schools and church ran schools but it was a very small minority of the working class that had the opportunity to go to one. Even though they were getting some kind of education it was only an informal kind, not the formal kind that was being taught in the Public and Grammar Schools. In the 1870 there was an act enforced called “The Forster Act”, this gave everybody a basic, free educational provision. Many believe that the reason for this is that Britain was becoming industrialised and we needed better skilled workforce to operate and manage machinery, otherwise we’d fall behind our main rivals USA. Also it is believed that we lost so many people in the Crimean War because the soldiers were poorly educated and tactically not as good as the other team because they couldn’t read or write. Another reason for compulsory education is that it looked as though the working class were rebelling and there needed to be something in place to make the government look generous.
In 1944 the government was in conservative’s power and they decided to bring in an act called The Butler Act. They proposed to open three types of schools in the country, they were: Grammar Schools, Technical Schools and Secondary Modern Schools. They brought in a test called 11+ Exam; this meant that when you were 11 you would take an exam that would determine what school you would go to. If you passed the exam you would go to a grammar school where you would study academic subjects, only the top 15-20% of children would go here and was considered to be a great achievement if you made it in. On the other hand it was considered quite saddening if you didn’t pass it because you then thought that you was stupid, having a serious effect on your self-esteem. The Technical School was for the students that didn’t quite pass the 11+ but didn’t get far off passing, this was only for 5% of pupils. Here students would study more vocational courses and technical skills so that they could aspire to more manual work than the grammar pupils. The secondary modern schools were basically for the rest of the pupils who weren’t clever enough to pass the 11+ at all. This was 60-75% of the population. They would still receive a basic education there were just no external exams.
Comprehensivisation was introduced in the late 60’s after the weaknesses were revealed in the tripartite system; they believed that the talent of many children in the secondary modern schools was just being wasted. Comprehensive school is a state school that does not select its intake on the basis of academic achievement. This means that every student get the same opportunity to do well and strive to what they want to be. This act obviously is one that is believed to have been one of the most successful out of the acts because it is in place today and there are currently 90% of all British pupils attending one.
In 1988 The Government introduced an act called The Education Reform Act. widely regarded as the most important single piece of education legislation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the 'Butler' Education Act 1944. Grant Maintained Schools were introduced. Primary and secondary schools could, under this act, remove themselves from their Local Education Authorities and would be completely funded by central government. Local Management of Schools was also introduced. This part of the Act allowed all schools to be taken out of the financial control of Local Authorities. Financial control would be handed to the head teacher and governors of a school. The national curriculum was introduced which meant that every student in the country were to follow the same outline of each course and therefore all had a fair chance of education. Key stages were introduced throughout your school years. This meant you could reach certain objectives during the time that you are in schooling. Choice was introduced, where parents could specify which school was their preferred choice. This was a lot better for parents as it could make certain things more convenient. League tables, publishing the examination results of schools, were introduced to show what schools were achieving more and what schools were falling below standards.

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