• Conservative Education Policy

    Schools

    The Government is radically modernising education in order to: improve the quality of teaching; restore discipline; raise standards; empower teachers; and close the gap between the richest and poorest pupils.

    We are improving the quality of teaching by:

    Doubling the size of Teach First, which attracts top graduates to the teaching profession.

    Introducing Troops to Teachers for former members of the armed forces and Teach Next for high fliers working in other sectors.

    Allowing schools to reward good teachers and deal with under-performing teachers.

    Developing a network of Teaching Schools on the model of teaching hospitals.

    Stopping funding for teacher trainees who do not have a lower second degree or better.

    Reducing opportunities for teacher trainees to retake basic literacy and numeracy tests.

    We are restoring discipline by:

    Making it easier to search pupils for banned items.

    Removing the requirement on teachers to give 24 hours’ notice for detention.

    Making clear that teachers may use reasonable force or physical restraint to control disruptive pupils.

    Giving anonymity to teachers accused by pupils.

    Preventing appeals panels from sending excluded pupils back to their former schools.

    We are raising standards by:

    Reviewing the National Curriculum with teachers and experts.

    Focusing the curriculum on subject content rather than prescribing how knowledge is acquired.

    Introducing the English Baccalaureate, recognising success by students and schools in achieving GCSEs in English, mathematics, sciences, languages and humanities.

    Stopping excessive re-sits at A-level.

    We are empowering teachers by:

    Cutting bureaucracy and guidance, allowing teachers to get on with the job.

    Rapidly expanding the academies programme, giving head teachers greater freedoms over teachers’ pay, the curriculum, control of budgets and structure of the school day.

    Allowing parents, teachers and charities to set up ‘free schools’, catering to the needs of local communities and free from bureaucratic control.

    We are closing the gap between the richest and poorest pupils by:

    Introducing a pupil premium worth £430 for every poor pupil next year, with total funding rising to £2.5 billion in 2014-15.

    Increasing the number of ‘super-heads’ who help struggling schools improve.

    Establishing a £110 million Education Endowment Fund for innovative proposals to help struggling schools.

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  • Organisation of the Education System

    How is the education system of the UK organised?

    Learning targets:

    • the education system of the UK is complex, so that there are a variety of different types of schools, especially for secondary education

    • the reasons for this complexity are historical as the system has developed over time

    • there are also political reasons for the different types of school organisation that have emerged

    Key questions

    (AO1) How has our school system evolved since 1945?

    (AO1) Why has the system evolved in the way that it has?

    (AO2) Is it a good or efficient system?

    (AO2) Are all children given equal chances to do well in our current system?

    Summary of key points

    Although most children in the UK attend local primary schools between the ages of 5 and 11, there are a variety of different types of secondary schools for children aged between 11 and 16. The reasons for this are to do with changes in government policy over time. Governments have changed their views on how schools should be organised for practical, ideological and economic reasons.

    In the 1950s, most areas of England and Wales had a very similar system of education for children between the ages of 5 and 15. This had been set up as a result of the 1945 Education Act. Children all sat an examination known as the 11 + and they were allocated a school based on how they had achieved. 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.

    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. 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.

    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 schools could only improve if they were encouraged to be competitive with each other for students. New types of school were developed and this policy continued under the Labour governments since 1997. Parents are now offered a choice of types of school to send their children to. What you should understand is that the education system that we have now is the result of social and political change over time.

    In some areas of the country there are grammar schools and secondary modern or comprehensive schools, in other areas there are just comprehensives and in some towns there are also city academies, specialist schools and colleges, independent schools and faith schools.

    These schools are all allocated money in different ways. Some schools can select the children that they will teach and others must take anyone who applies to them. There are different methods of funding schools and different types of schools. In practice, the types of schools that you might find in an area depend on where you are in the country.

    Community schools are owned by local authorities who allocate money and employ staff. This is probably the most common type of school. These include grammar schools, comprehensive schools, and secondary modern schools.

    Foundation schools have more freedom than community schools because the governing body can select pupils and employ staff. These schools may include comprehensives and grammar schools.

    Voluntary-aided schools are owned by charities and they employ staff. They may be religious faith schools. City Technology Colleges are independent from Local Authorities, but do not charge fees. They tend to offer vocational qualifications.

    City Academies which are independent from local authorities and many are funded by businesses or charities. They were often set up on the sites of failing schools and many offer vocational education. They have been controversial

    In some areas you might also find Independent Schools that are usually run as businesses and charge fees to parents. There are approximately 2,300 such schools in the country.

    Specialist schools have extra funding to establish a centre of excellence in certain subject areas, although they must teach the whole curriculum. There are over 2,600 such schools in England. In Wales, you will also find schools that teach through the medium of the Welsh language.

    What should you have in your folder of notes on this topic? (AO1)

    Key concepts

    Define the key concepts and ideas.

    Circular 10/65

    Comprehensive schools

    Conservatism

    Education

    Equality

    Grammar Schools

    Independent schools

    League tables

    Local authorities

    Market forces

    National Curriculum

    New Right

    Public schools

    SATS

    Tripartite system of education (Butler Act 1944)

    Vocational education

    Independent study

    Compulsory

    • Downloads of information from websites about different types of schools

    • Evidence that you have looked at least one news story about the educational system of the UK

    • Notes taken from at least one textbook in the LRC that focus on educational changes since 1945

    Extension work

    • Interview someone who went to school many years ago to find out how schools have changed

    • Suggest three ways that the education system of the UK could be improved.

    • Make notes on the education system in any other country of the world.

    Useful websites and sources of information (AO1):

    Find out about independent schools

    http://www.isc.co.uk/

    The website of Eton College, a leading independent school can be seen at www.etoncollege.com.

    The government department with responsibility for education is the Department for Children, Schools and Families

    http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/

    For news stories about education, use the BBC website

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/default.stm

    The main teaching newspaper is the Times Educational Supplement www.tes.co.uk/

    Here are some research articles about the politics of choice in education:

    http://www.esrc.ac.uk/ESRCInfoCentre/about/CI/CP/the_edge/issue23/education.aspx

    Relevant news stories that you should look at:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4554817.stm

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/rod_liddle/article737572.ece

    You should use the website of the NgfL Cymru and look at the ebook to develop your notes

    http://www.ngfl-cymru.org.uk/eng/sociology-as-ebook

    Answer these questions in your notes

    1. What different types of secondary school are there?

    2. What factors have influenced the development of the variety of secondary schools that we have in the UK?

    3. List four different acts of Parliament or Government circulars and explain what the main points were.

    4. What does the Labour party traditionally believe about education?

    5. What does the Conservative Party traditionally believe about education?

    6. Do all children in the UK have an equal chance of getting a good education?

    o List three points that suggest that they do

    o List three points which suggest that they do not

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  • Assess the value of social policies for maintaining family life in the UK.Social policies aim to establish laws which guide life in the UK. With reference to family, these policies will aim to improve family life for all its members and ensure protection,

    Social policies aim to establish laws which guide life in the UK. With reference to family, these policies will aim to improve family life for all its members and ensure protection, especially for its more vulnerable members. This is the accepted view of most governments in power in the UK and they aim to pass bills through House of Commons and House of Lords which will put in place laws which will enhance family life.

    Child Welfare policy aims to protect children and to provide them with the right of a stable and happy childhood. Legislations within Child Welfare policy include protection, child labour and benefits. The protection of a child is beneficial as it is crucial a child does not live in fear or is harmed in any emotional, physical or verbal manner. This policy provides the police and courts the power to intervene within the family and to remove the violent members and place the child in care. There is a specific law on the amount of time a week a child in the UK is able to work. A child is unable to work at all until they are 13, part time, and 16, full time. This is due to a child being able to obtain a normal childhood in which they can first educate themselves to the best of their ability, and then to work when they are mature and have the sufficient knowledge to do so. This can be said as a positive impact on the family as the older generations are more likely to have more time working to support their family before the generation below begin to gain employment. Benefits for children are available in the UK per week. £20.30 is paid for the eldest child in a family, and £19.40 per week is paid per additional child. This applies to all tax payers, although higher-rate taxpayers will not receive this benefit from 2013. Weekly child benefit is there to provide children with money to attend educational school trips, to be able to purchase a school uniform and for food and drink items in which they use at home. This benefits the family as parents have an extra income, though it is not much of an increase in income, it is enough to ensure that the child is getting the basic required needs.

    Social policies which affect marriage in the UK, include being able to marry one person at a time and only someone of the opposite sex, although a legislation will be put in place in 2012 which will allow legal homosexual marriages to commence. It can be argued that same sex marriages may have a negative impact on the family. If a couple of the same-sex marry, they may wish to adopt a child or to use a surrogate mother to carry their child. But the child of the homosexual couple may experience bullying within any institution in which they attend, which may lead to a long term psychological issue. But it can also be argued that a nice, caring pair of homosexual parents would be far more favourable than Fred and Rosemary West. Monogamy is a policy in the UK to ensure a family, and children, with stability and to ensure they are certain on who their role models are, rather than having multiple role models. Monogamy avoids confusion and prevents a child, or the parent, from gaining psychological issues in the future.

    Women now have more egalitarian rights within the family. This can have a positive effect on the family women can have the right to socialise a child in a lone parent environment. It can be argued that the child, especially boys, will be deprived of a fatherly figure. A woman can also generate a more stable income for herself, without having the burden of patriarchy. A woman now has the right to divorce if she feels the marriage is not a safe environment for her children, due to domestic violence and abuse. A woman can also divorce if she feels the marriage is not right for her, as there is less stigma about being single and woman don’t need to provide evidence to prove unfaithfulness. It can be argued by New Right believers that social policy encourages women to divorce, rather than working at their marriage, using the welfare system, as this will provide women with the right to claim money for her children if there is a broken family. Women can also have shared roles within a family, such as women have the right to go out and work and the father can gain responsibility over the child, as apposed to the male working and the woman looking after the child.

    Welfare is in place to provide the family with sufficient financial support to ensure they have a decent standard of living. Child benefits are in place to ensure children can gain the basic needs within a UK family. Free education is there for all children, as it is law to attend school. This is to ensure all children have the opportunity to educate themselves to their level of ability and to go out to work to support their children. Free child health care, provided my tax, is in place to ensure the NHS are able to support children in their health, for the people who may not be able to afford it. And so the generations can survive into adulthood to ensure they can fit into their role of society.

    Governments have a duty of care to ensure that family life in the UK is a positive and nurturing experience for all involved. And if we compare British policy with other countries we can see that the policies are by and large positive and beneficial. We do not for instance have restrictive policies on childbirth as they do in China, pr policies aiming to enforce larger families as have been attempted in Romania. The outlook for families in the UK is generally positive with protection and nurture being at the heart of family life legislation.

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  • Assess the value of social policies for maintaining family life in the UK.Social policies aim to establish laws which guide life in the UK. With reference to family, these policies will aim to improve family life for all its members and ensure protection,

    Social policies aim to establish laws which guide life in the UK. With reference to family, these policies will aim to improve family life for all its members and ensure protection, especially for its more vulnerable members. This is the accepted view of most governments in power in the UK and they aim to pass bills through House of Commons and House of Lords which will put in place laws which will enhance family life.

    Child Welfare policy aims to protect children and to provide them with the right of a stable and happy childhood. Legislations within Child Welfare policy include protection, child labour and benefits. The protection of a child is beneficial as it is crucial a child does not live in fear or is harmed in any emotional, physical or verbal manner. This policy provides the police and courts the power to intervene within the family and to remove the violent members and place the child in care. There is a specific law on the amount of time a week a child in the UK is able to work. A child is unable to work at all until they are 13, part time, and 16, full time. This is due to a child being able to obtain a normal childhood in which they can first educate themselves to the best of their ability, and then to work when they are mature and have the sufficient knowledge to do so. This can be said as a positive impact on the family as the older generations are more likely to have more time working to support their family before the generation below begin to gain employment. Benefits for children are available in the UK per week. £20.30 is paid for the eldest child in a family, and £19.40 per week is paid per additional child. This applies to all tax payers, although higher-rate taxpayers will not receive this benefit from 2013. Weekly child benefit is there to provide children with money to attend educational school trips, to be able to purchase a school uniform and for food and drink items in which they use at home. This benefits the family as parents have an extra income, though it is not much of an increase in income, it is enough to ensure that the child is getting the basic required needs.

    Social policies which affect marriage in the UK, include being able to marry one person at a time and only someone of the opposite sex, although a legislation will be put in place in 2012 which will allow legal homosexual marriages to commence. It can be argued that same sex marriages may have a negative impact on the family. If a couple of the same-sex marry, they may wish to adopt a child or to use a surrogate mother to carry their child. But the child of the homosexual couple may experience bullying within any institution in which they attend, which may lead to a long term psychological issue. But it can also be argued that a nice, caring pair of homosexual parents would be far more favourable than Fred and Rosemary West. Monogamy is a policy in the UK to ensure a family, and children, with stability and to ensure they are certain on who their role models are, rather than having multiple role models. Monogamy avoids confusion and prevents a child, or the parent, from gaining psychological issues in the future.

    Women now have more egalitarian rights within the family. This can have a positive effect on the family women can have the right to socialise a child in a lone parent environment. It can be argued that the child, especially boys, will be deprived of a fatherly figure. A woman can also generate a more stable income for herself, without having the burden of patriarchy. A woman now has the right to divorce if she feels the marriage is not a safe environment for her children, due to domestic violence and abuse. A woman can also divorce if she feels the marriage is not right for her, as there is less stigma about being single and woman don’t need to provide evidence to prove unfaithfulness. It can be argued by New Right believers that social policy encourages women to divorce, rather than working at their marriage, using the welfare system, as this will provide women with the right to claim money for her children if there is a broken family. Women can also have shared roles within a family, such as women have the right to go out and work and the father can gain responsibility over the child, as apposed to the male working and the woman looking after the child.

    Welfare is in place to provide the family with sufficient financial support to ensure they have a decent standard of living. Child benefits are in place to ensure children can gain the basic needs within a UK family. Free education is there for all children, as it is law to attend school. This is to ensure all children have the opportunity to educate themselves to their level of ability and to go out to work to support their children. Free child health care, provided my tax, is in place to ensure the NHS are able to support children in their health, for the people who may not be able to afford it. And so the generations can survive into adulthood to ensure they can fit into their role of society.

    Governments have a duty of care to ensure that family life in the UK is a positive and nurturing experience for all involved. And if we compare British policy with other countries we can see that the policies are by and large positive and beneficial. We do not for instance have restrictive policies on childbirth as they do in China, pr policies aiming to enforce larger families as have been attempted in Romania. The outlook for families in the UK is generally positive with protection and nurture being at the heart of family life legislation.

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  • Assess the view that the main function of religious beliefs is to promote social stability. (33 marks)The main sociologists that support the view that the main functions of religious beliefs is to promote social stability are functionalists. They belief t

    The main sociologists that support the view that the main functions of religious beliefs is to promote social stability are functionalists. They belief that religion performs functions and helps society. This is because society’s most basic need is the need for social order and solidarity so that its members can cooperate and to do this there needs to be value consensus, which without this individuals in society would pursue their own selfish desires and society would disintegrate. One functionalist that supports this argument is Durkheim which he states that religion and its institutions play a central part in creating and maintaining value consensus, order and solidarity. He distinguishes the difference between the sacred and the profane. He says that the sacred are the things set apart and forbidden that inspire feelings of awe, fear and wonder and are surrounded by taboos and prohibitations. By contrast, the profane are things that have no special significance. Therefore a religion is never simply a set of beliefs. It also involves definite rituals or practices on relation to the sacred and these rituals are collective which are performed by social groups. The fact that sacred things create such powerful feelings, Durkheim suggests this is because they are symbols representing something of great power and he says that this great power is society itself. Even though sacred symbols vary from religion to religion, they all perform the essential function of uniting believers into a single moral community which results in maintaining social solidarity. This therefore promotes social stability. He also says that regular shared religious rituals reinforce the collective conscience and maintain social integration. Participating in shared rituals binds individuals together, reminding them they are part of a single moral community to which they owe their loyalty. Such rituals also remind the individual of the power of society. Without this they themselves are nothing and to which they owe everything. Although this there are some critics that say his theory will only apply to small scale societies and not contemporary societies because if the increase diversity has fragmented the collective conscience so there is no longer a single shared value system for religion to reinforce.

    Malinowski is another sociologist which agrees that religion promotes solidarity and social stability in society but in a different way to Durkheim’s theory. He argues that religion does this by performing psychological functions for individuals, helping them cope with emotional stress that would undermine social solidarity. Malinowski identifies two ways in which religion does this. One, where the outcome is important but is uncontrollable and therefore uncertain. Two, at the times of crises for example birth, marriage and death. He says that religion helps minimise disruption, in a result maintaining social stability. Parson also agrees, he says that religion performs functions such as it creates and legitimates society’s central values by sacralising them and therefore it severs to promote values consensus and thus social stability.

    Not just this there is some argument that religion also performs functions for the individual not just society. Durkheim also shows this by saying that religion makes us feel part of something greater than ourselves, religion reinvigorates and strengthens us to face life’s trials and motivates us to overcome obstacles that would otherwise defeat us. He also comes up with the suggestion that religion performs cognitive functions, our ability to reason and think. For example he says that in order to think we need categories such as time, space and number. We also need this in order to share our thoughts. Durkheim believes that religion is the origin of the concepts and categories that we need to understand reason and communicate. Parsons also suggest that religion provides a source of meaning; in particular it answers ‘ultimate’ questions.

    Bellah comes up with the concept of civil religions that unifies people. This is particularly in America where a belief system that attaches sacred qualities to its society and in America’s case religion is a faith in Americanisation. He argues that civil religion integrates society in a way that individual religions cannot. It involves loyalty to the nation- state and beliefs in God, but this isn’t a specific religious God and therefore unifies people from different ethnic and religious backgrounds and therefore promoting social stability.

    On the other had there are some sociological arguments that disagree and say that religion doesn’t promote social stability such as Marxists. These believe that religion is an ideology a belief system that distorts people perception of reality in ways that serve the interests of the ruling class. Marx argues that the class that controls economic production also controls the production and distribution of ideas in society, through institutions such as church. He argues that the ruling class uses religion as a ideological weapon by the ruling class to legitimate the suffering of the poor as something inevitable and god- given. Religion misleads the poor into believing that their suffering is virtuous and that they will be favoured in the afterlife. Marx also says that religion as the product of alienation. He says that this only exists in a class society. That workers are alienated because they do not own what they produce and have no control over production process and therefore no freedom to express their true nature as creative beings. Religion acts as an opiate to dull the pain of exploitation, and because it is a distorted view of the world it can offer no solution to earthly misery instead it promises the afterlife. Although this Marx do not see the positives that religion has and that religion does not necessarily function effectively as an ideology to control the population.

    Feminists are also another that criticise the claim that religion promotes social stability as they see religion as a patriarchal institution that reflects and maintains the inequality. They say that religion does this in religious organisations as they are mainly male- dominated. For example in religions such as Catholicism and Judaism forbid women to become priests. Armstrong says this is the strongest evidence of marginalisation. They also see it in places of worship as they often segregate the sexes and marginalise women; women’s participation is also limited. Sacred texts and religious laws and customs are also evidence of religion promoting patriarchy. This is because most of the texts feature male gods and also interpreted by men and women have fewer rights than men for example in access to divorce. This evidence has shown that religion can cause instability between social classes and also gender.

    Overall there is a lot of evidence to support the fact that the main function of religion and religious beliefs is to promote social stability such as the functionalist view and especially Durkheim’s theory. But there is also evidence that religious beliefs can also perform the function to an individual and not just society. There is also sociologists that say religious doesn’t at all perform the function of promoting social stability and that it makes society unstable between social classes and gender, which are the Marxist and feminist view. In conclusion there is significant evidence that the main function of religious beliefs is that it performs the function of promoting social stability.

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