Is class relevant today in an educational context

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In order to look at this question in detail you have to look at things that have happened over time in order to answer the question that is posed starting from the beginning of education system to enable you to understand and identify if class is still taken into account today whilst looking into what enables different groups of individuals to receive who receive different styles of education.

Individuals were being educated from the 1800's. Religious conflict was a part of the reason to why the national education system was delayed. In 1843 a Factory Bill was passed which saw violent opposition from both Catholics and nonconformists. It stated that headmasters could only be from the Church of England. They had to learn in a question answer style whilst in a church environment and were expected to learn even on Sundays. The Bill failed and children continued to work, during this time education was almost exclusively run by the church.

It was not until the beginning of the modern education system came in, in the later part of the 19th century which caused individuals to have very different views on education; this was for a variety of different reasons. In 1867 men from some working class background were given the right to vote for the first time. It was thought that they needed to be able to understand what they were voting for, which why it was felt that individuals needed to be educated but this did not come without problems of its own. Individuals from higher classes did not want working class people to be able to learn whilst large amounts working class people did not care for education either. Children at this time we working and the money they earned helped their families to survive, by them having to then go to school instead brought a loss of earning to their families who were already struggling.

Education was not backed by individuals or the government as some individuals did not have them same desire for the education system to be brought in but with the help of the Education League and the National Education Union the first Education Act Reform, 1870 otherwise known as the "Forrest Act" was put in place. Education was not a real priority in individual's lives this was because Britain's economic position within the world was beginning challenged by Germany and the United States of America who at the time seemed to have better technical education system. Key political changes that were happening and it was thought that political stability and economic growth were all linked to individuals being educated; it was not until now that education seemed possible.

A dual system whereas nondenominational and voluntary denominational started to flourish and elementary schools were put in place all over the country which at this time was spilt up into school districts. There were not enough provisions so schools boards were put in place, these schools had to raise funds to maintain their school.

The nondenominational schools were seen to have indifference between religious teachings. The voluntary sector was deemed a success so government intervention was not needed. Individuals adopted a Laissez-faire approach and education did not have anything to do with the government. The government was not bothered by the fact that voluntary and the private sector were not bothered but it was found that voluntary institutions did not have much power, they could not influence the system causing economic development and the rise of wealth.

The Cross Report, 1888 condemned schools for being given money by their academic results of their students which meant that schools who's pupils didn't do well didn't received money, the report wanted to see a more varied curriculum being taught within schools. So when the national system of education was put in place it had a lot of obstacles in its way of making elementary education compulsory and free in 1891. Schools had school board officers who needed to ensure that children especially young boys attended school as working class children especially would not always conform. These officers are known as education wealth fare officers today. In 1902, Education Act allowed the Leas to supervise and take control of both elementary and secondary education.

1926 the first Hadow Report saw elementary schools change and only go up to age 11 and secondary schools started to take children up to the age of 15. Curriculum taught in the modern schools was more limited than that of the grammar schools. The Hadow Report was revised in 1931 and in 1944 the Education Act was also revised, along with it teaching became more streamed. Now there were 3 types of schools Grammar, secondary modern and technical schools. The next big change in education happened when the Plowden Report came out in 1967 and wanted education to become more child centred. It saw more importance of families and discussed child poverty. Then 1970 saw the Ruskin college speech which concentrated on the fact that schools were failing society and this needed to be addressed. The National Curriculum came in 1980's. 'The universal Declaration of Human Rights' and the European Convention of Human Rights of the child' study in schools suggests that schools should "Lead to an understanding of, and sympathy for the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, peace, dignity, rights and democracy' (Council of Europe, 1985).

During the span of education to date there was always a difference with education between the social class but this was to try and be changed.

In 1988 the Education Reform Act was put in place to bring about change by having a broader and balanced statutory curriculum which "established an entitlement of education so that no matter what your background it irrespective of your race, colour, culture and ability everyone is entitled to an education so that they can be active and responsible citizens. Establish standards, Promote continuity and promote a public understanding." (National Curriculum, 2002)The Education Act 2002 also states that "all maintained schools should provide a balanced and board curriculum which promotes spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development for learners at school and within society. It also has to prepare learners for opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life." Ofsted, every child matters and the national framework of the curriculum were all brought in to raise educational standards within schools.

Although education has moved on, today our society still has issues with individuals from different social classes, for us to understand this we need to look into the reasons to why social class is still relevant.

One of the main reasons is that children from working class backgrounds are seen to be less successful this is because they suffer from social deprivation, where individuals do not have the connections needed to be able to get onto the right track, an example of this is a working class child would not know any working professional they only tend to know a limited amount of people. They suffer from cultural deprivation this is where they cannot afford to better themselves and ( Realy, 2001) Suggest that "this is because of a lack of understanding elaborated codes." This means the parent may not understand meaning they are therefore unable to help their children.

Many theorists support cultural deprivation, (Ball, 2004) suggest that "in order for children to learn they need to have social capital to be able to access the schools resources." Economic deprivation effects stops working class families from enabling their children to do better. The working class only have enough money to get by, things like holiday maybe something that might be only ever be a dream as many working class families just manage to survive.

Many class theorists have argued that class can provide basic structure within society and this they believe is the main cause of inequalities within society today. There has always been big amount of inequality between different social classes; this has always been most evident between the upper, middle and working classes. It is thought that your social class can have a big part of determining what you will become and even the way in which you live your life. (Borvil, 2009). People within upper classes tend to have more opportunities of gaining higher paid jobs, enabling them to be more wealthy, have more control over their lives and can even hold more powerful positions than those who are in the lower classes. They also have a bigger impact on today's society which at times they can sometimes use this to manipulate society to suit their own needs, education is one of the places where this is most easily seen.

Education has always had one of the biggest divides between the social classes as people in the higher classes have the means to pay for private education for their children. They therefore can choose the type of education that they receive. The type of school that you go to can sometimes help in playing a part in determining the qualifications you will gain. These can impact the type of career path you then follow and the amount of money that you will be able to earn. Education has always been a way in which people will try to become more socially mobile between the classes, it can have the biggest impact on social mobility within these classes and even determine if you even stay within the same class. (Borvil, 2009) It is much harder to move down a class than it is to move up a class.

Many parents in the lower classes realised that in order for their children to achieve what they feel is their child's full potential they need to send their children to private school. Some parents go as far as to remortgage their homes to be able to afford the every growing cost of such schools. Others will work second and even third jobs to pay for extra tutoring to enable the children to stand a good chance of gaining a scholarship into such prestige schools but unfortunately this is can often lead to disappointment when these scholarships are not obtained. Other parents on the other hand will take other routes such as moving into the catchment areas of state schools that are academically thriving. (Borvil, 2009) These types of parents maybe see this as a way of doing the best for their children but sadly this is not always the case. These parents do this as they want their children to have a better chance of success when having to deal with the effects of the class hierarchy.

While those parents from the lower classes may have gifted and talented children are sometimes left on the self so to speak because their parents do not even have the means to even sale their house as they don't even own it, they more than likely live within social housing. They can be stuck within the social effects that class can bring as it is possible that these parents to not even know how to access other routes into such prestige schools or can't just move house when they feel like it especially to enable their children to get into better schools. It is even possible that they can't even access information as it may be wrote in jargon that is alien to them. These children are normally are from working class backgrounds and they can sometimes even full victim of low expectations.

Children from these backgrounds sometimes have parents who did not do that well in school themselves through no fault of their own. They have possibly left school younger than the average child and either had children young or gone into lower paid jobs which tend to be at the very bottom of the social ladder, unlike many of the middle and upper class who tend to normally follow the education route before entering into having a career and even sometimes even having children.

I believe that education is in fact another place where children of different classes are noticed more. I believe this as it is easy to see that the types of education that children receive can be totally reliant on the area in which you live. It is a known fact that the schools that parents would see as 'good schools' are normally in wealthier parts of cities. You never hear of families moving to what would be classes as council estates because the schools within those estates are doing well. If a school within these areas were seen as high achieving then maybe this would be possible but because of what is nothing other than misunderstandings, preconceptions and sterotypes about areas where there are large amounts of social housing. Thriving schools within these areas will never really be given a fair chance and will always be deemed by higher classes as the worst schools because the bigger picture is not looked into.

In fact many of these schools are dealing a lot of other issues such as possibly dealing with things from language barriers, ethics monitories, disabilities or even dealing with more children who are culturally deprived and mainly living off, of the benefit state through no fault their own. Most of them have been born into social deprivation that could be one of the main reasons to why they are underachieving. It really has nothing even to do with that they are not capable of or even what the school can provide to enhance their education. These such schools are in fact faced with the struggle of trying to provide education in sometimes what can be seen as extreme situations and are not recognised enough for the hard work they put into helping these children obtain educational success.

If the bigger picture is being looked into schools such as these would be not only assessed on if they are delivering the curriculum but also if they were in fact meeting the children's needs and providing them with a place which is a safe environment, where abilities and inabilities are also taken into consideration rather than where they belong on the academic ladder.

This maybe does not happen as the upper class and sometimes even middle classes dominate education. They can even override the principle that is even underlying within the curriculum and agendas of the education system. This maybe because they have more links to things like politicians or are even able to move in circles which are associated with the government. It is also possible that they also can alienate some working class an example of this could be when a working class child gains a scholarship into an elite private school. They can then make a working class child feel intimidated, isolated and make that child feel like they are less of a person because of the social background that they have come from which can make it harder for the child to achieve their educational potential and academic success. The child then feels they have no other option but to leave the learning environment that they have struggled to enter. "According to the theories of Maslow, children need to feel a sense of safety and security as well as a feeling of love and belongingness to meet their 'hierarchy of needs'. If the child does not feel safe in school or loved at home, these can contribute to underachievement."

Culture capital effects our beliefs, knowledge and skills are an essential factor when looking at education and can varies within different social classes. Children at the higher end of school class have better chances and stay in education longer than those in lower classes who normally drop out at a much younger age. It is important for us to realise that class is still relevant within today's society in an educational context and that if individuals continue to have negative perceptions of socially deprived groups then we will never change as a society. If a classless society is ever to be achieved one day we could possibility have an equal society in the realm of the social intuition of education.

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