In order to answer the question, "How does education determine people's life chances?" I am going to look at education in the sense of learning opportunities provided by the state and concentrate on issues of social class, race and gender. Life chances is a very vague phrase which could be construed as having a variety of different meanings, but in this case I would interpret it to mean opportunities of economic and social advancement and security. I am going to investigate whether in a historical and contemporary context, the education system through its very structure and policies can restrict life chances for pupils from certain social groups. The discussion of education and equality, equality of opportunity, democracy or social justice has been one of the most debated educational issues of the last hundred years.
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[...] and Hunt, R. (1991), Sociological Interpretations of Education. London: Routledge. Bruner, J.S. (1972), The Relevance of Education. London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. Cole, M. (1989), Education for Equality. London: Routledge. Craft, M. (1970), Family, Class and Education. London: Longman Group Ltd Davis, A. (1948), Social Class Influences on Learning. Harvard University Press Demaine, J. Sociology of Education Today. London: J. Palgrave Hallan, S. and Toutounji, I. (1996), What do we know about the grouping of pupils by ability? A Research Review. [...]
[...] (1916), Democracy and Education, Macmillan Cited in: Morrish, (1972) The Sociology of Education: An Introduction, London: George Allen and Unwin Education Act Mortimore, J and Blackstone, T. (1982), Disadvantage and Education. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd Rogers, R. (1986), Education and Social Class. Philadelphia: The Falmer Press Mays, J.B. (1962), Education and the Urban Child. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press Davis, A. (1948), Social Class Influences on Learning. Harvard University Press 7. Gillborn, D. (1997), Race and Ethnicity in Education 14 cited in: Tomlinson, S. [...]
[...] Department fir Education and Employment (1997), Excellence in Schools. London:HMSO Trends towards increased use of setting appear to be on the increase in both primary and secondary schools according to reports from the Office for Standards in Education.6 Secondary schools have been actively trying to identify pupils who may possibly borderline between grade D and to provide them with additional help and support. This concentration of resources on pupils possibly capable of achieving A C grades leads inevitably to a reduction in funding in other areas, mainly for children seen as having little hope of attaining a C grade. [...]
[...] Issues of social inequalities and restrictions of life chances have clearly been central to government policies regarding education systems. Thus far I have highlighted how social inequalities and class differences have been reinforced by the structure of the education system. I am now going to investigate whether the contemporary education system still reinforces social class differences through its policies. Is there still a form of selection taking place in secondary schools, favoring children from traditional middle class backgrounds? Since 1992 it has been a statutory requirement for schools to publish their examination results. [...]
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