How is the education system of Great Britain organised? Understanding how British society plans and organises the education of young people.
Sociological Targets • You will understand that the education system is an important institution in our society. • You will recognise that there are a number of forces that affect the shape that the education system takes in a society: political, ideological, economic and traditional. • You will understand the form of the UK education system and recognise some of the factors that have shaped it. • You will have a supporting booklet containing tasks for you to complete.
Introductory Task – groups of 3-4 • You are the survivors of a terrible world wide disaster. There are several hundred people. • You need to pass on your knowledge to the next generation and to each other so they can rebuild the world. • You have a completely free rein to design an effective education system for the survivors. • What would your system be like? • In groups of 3-4
The Part Played by Education in Society Education: Topic 1
The purpose of Education • Today most young people spend approximately six hours per day in school, from aged four to at least sixteen • They gain knowledge, attitudes and skills via the formal curriculum and the hidden curriculum • Changes in the system reflect the political/ideological views of the government at the time and also economic needs.
The start of compulsory education • Forster’s Education Act 1870 brought in State responsibility for education of aged five to ten years • 1880 Act made education compulsory for five to ten year olds
Compulsory education was introduced in 1880 in order to: • Create a more skilled workforce • Improve the effectiveness of our armies • Re-socialise the feckless (irresponsible) poor
Reduce the level of street crime • Ward off the threat of revolution • Provide education as a ‘human right’ (This is a liberal view of education)
The history of education • The Tripartite education system set up in 1945 consisted of three different types of schooling: grammar schools, secondary moderns and technical schools. • Although it was intended to be equal for all, it favoured middle class children. • It was popular with many parents. • In parts of Britain, it was changed to comprehensive schools in the 1970s.
Grammar Schools Children all sat an examination known as the 11 + and they were allocated a school based on how they had achieved in that examination. Those seen as more academic attended Grammar Schools which taught a very academic curriculum and those seen as less able went to Secondary Modern Schools which taught practical subjects such as metal work and carpentry for boys and needlework and cookery for girls. Only children who attended Grammar Schools could sit exams or go to college.
Thinking exercise • What arguments are there in favour of grammar schools and education based on selection by ability? • What arguments are there against grammar schools and education based on selection by ability? (in pairs, 4 minutes)
Comprehensive Schools In 1965, a weak and unpopular Labour government sent out a circular to all Education Authorities known as 10/65. This told local education authorities, which were run by local councils that they should prepare for comprehensive schools. These would be single schools taking children of all abilities regardless of their success. In some areas, local education authorities changed to this new system of educating all children with some speed. In others, local education authorities failed to submit workable plans, and in these areas, there are still grammar schools.
Fit the term to the meaning Every person has the same chance or opportunity. Schools that teach traditional academic subjects. Schools intended to teach children of all abilities. An instruction telling education authorities to go comprehensive Equality Comprehensive schools Circular 10/65 Grammar Schools
Fit the term to the meaning Every person has the same chance or opportunity. Schools that teach traditional academic subjects. Schools intended to teach children of all abilities. An instruction telling education authorities to go comprehensive Equality Grammar Schools Comprehensive schools Circular 10/65
Who are these two people? Why are they significant in the history of the British education system? Margaret Thatcher Conservative Prime Minister From 1979 Tony Blair New Labour Prime Minister From 1997
What happened in 1979? 1979 was a turning point in British society because a very ideological Conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher took power. This government is identified with a set of beliefs known as New Right. The New Right believes that no rules are needed for society because economic factors (market forces) can be relied upon. This impacted on schools, because the New Right believed that they could only improve if they were encouraged to be competitive with each other for students. One of the ways that they did this was by ensuring that local authorities schools were given more control over their own money and also that they were funded by the number of pupils that they taught.
Thinking exercise • What are the features of New Right thinking about human behaviour? • Should schools compete for the best students? (in pairs, 4 minutes)
Summary of key points • The Labour party introduced Comprehensive Schools to encourage equality for all children. • Conservative governments objected to comprehensive schools. • Conservative governments believed in market forces and competition between schools. • They have encouraged a variety of different schools to develop. • The Labour Party under Tony Blair and more recent education ministers has continued with this policy.
You will be given materials to create a timeline of key educational changes since 1945. You have 15 minutes to complete the task using scissors and glue. If you finish, begin looking at the changes and suggesting reasons for them.
Individual Research • Find out about one or more recent debates or stories that have been in the news and which focus on education. Summarise the key points • Use this website for a start http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/7791461.stm • What are your views on this debate/story? (Approx 300 words suitable to be shared with class)