Outline the policies that New Labor have introduced to the education system since 1997 [12 marks] Labor governments since 1997 have sought both to reduce inequality of achievement and promote greater diversity, choice and competition within the education system. They believed that achieving these goals would also make Britain as a whole, more competitive in the global economy by turning the nation into a high skill, high wage society.
The labor party has traditionally had a strong focus on promoting equality. After 1997, Labor governments introduced overall policies aimed specifically at reducing inequality in achievement by targeting support on disadvantaged groups. One such policy was known as the ‘Aim Higher’ programmer and worked to raise the aspirations of groups who are under- represented in higher education. Also, the Labor party designated some deprived areas as education action ones and provided them with additional resources.
A final policy was known as Educational maintenance allowance (EMMA); it gave small amounts of money, weekly, to students from low-income backgrounds to encourage hem to stay on in school after 16 to gain better qualifications. Critics such as Witty (2002) see a contradiction between laborer’s policies to tackle inequality; EMMA is an example of a policy that may encourage working-class students to stay on until they’re 18, however tuition fees for higher education may deter them from going to university.
Witty thus concludes that Laborer’s anti-inequality policies are merely ‘cosmetic’ – they present a positive image without actually reducing class inequalities. Other sociologists also argue that Labor were unsuccessful in reducing inequality as rammer and private schools still existed. Labor governments since 1997 have also aimed to promote greater diversity and choice. For example, as ex-prime minister Tony Blair said in 2002; education needs to move into the ‘post-comprehensive’ era.
The existing ‘one size fits all, mass production’ education system run by bureaucrats from the centre would be scrapped. In its place would be a new system built around the aptitudes and needs of the individual child and where power is in the hands of the parents. A few policies were brought in to tackle this. Firstly, secondary schools ere encouraged to apply for specialist school status in particular curriculum areas; by 2007, 85% of all secondary school had become specialized. This offers greater choice for parents.
Also, there is some evidence that this has raised standards in these particular schools. For example, in 2006, 59. 5% of their pupils gained 5 GEESE grades A*-C, compared to only 47. 6% in non-specialist schools. Labor has also promoted academies as a policy for raising achievement and planned to have 200 academies by 2010. Many of these are former comprehensives with poor results and any working-class pupils and it is claimed that creating academies will raise their achievements.
However, some sociologists disagree with this because results have been mixed; in some academies they have improved, in others they have worsened. In conclusion Labor were reasonably successful in achieving their aims, mainly in reducing inequality and despite their semi-failings in the creation of academies; Paul I roller (2 plants to polices sun as Increased Tuning AT state coeducation, Ralston standards and a focus on a ‘learning society as evidence of Laborer’s commitment to reducing educational inequality. Task Jacobs RPR