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The British school system​ — damaging working-class children

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The British school system​ — damaging working-class children While on the surface middle and working class children appear to be receiving the same comprehensive education, in some​e cases while attending the same schools, the entrenchment of policies of choice and excessive testing, assessment, sorting and sifting mean that they are increasingly educated apart as they move through the school system. The divide in English education is not just between state and private, but also within the state sector itself.In the past the barriers to realising working class educational potential came through failing the 11-plus and being consigned to schools seen to be second-rate, or being relegated to the bottom stream of a grammar school. Now OECD research shows

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The British school system​ — damaging working-class children

While on the surface middle and working class children appear to be receiving the same comprehensive education, in some​e cases while attending the same schools, the entrenchment of policies of choice and excessive testing, assessment, sorting and sifting mean that they are increasingly educated apart as they move through the school system. The divide in English education is not just between state and private, but also within the state sector itself.The British school system​ — damaging working-class childrenIn the past the barriers to realising working class educational potential came through failing the 11-plus and being consigned to schools seen to be second-rate, or being relegated to the bottom stream of a grammar school. Now OECD research shows that middle class students tend to be taught in smaller classes and have access to better quality teaching resources than their working class peers. Although nominally receiving the same education as middle class students who attend state schools, working class children are subject to a narrowing of the curriculum and a degree of teaching to the test that is not experienced by their middle class peers. They are also more likely to be taught by inexperienced teachers and to experience a higher turnover of staff. The historical legacy of different education for different classes still overshadows the state sector. But the inequalities it perpetuates have been reinforced by the neoliberal drive towards markets, competition, regulation, and individualism.

Diane Reay

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Lars Pålsson Syll
Professor at Malmö University. Primary research interest - the philosophy, history and methodology of economics.

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