Educationis an important institution within society, this is because education has beenput into place to achieve several outcomes and to provide a wide amount ofopportunities for both children and adults today.
An important function thateducation plays is that it carries out the practice of secondary socialisation,in which the educational system teaches children the basic norms and values ofsociety in a way that primary socialisation such as friends and family may notbe able to. This provides the child with a wider perspective on certainsituation that happen within society and how they are able to deal with thesesituation by applying what they have been taught in homes and the appliedknowledge they have learned in schools. The education system also exhibitssignificant functions that provide children with the necessary skills foremployment, religion, sexual orientation, race as well as history of the nationthey are being taught in; British values. This shows that education plays amassive role in both adults but predominately in children’s lives by socialising them “intosociety and coaching them about the values of achievement which will empowerthem to be more welcoming to opportunities within society” (Fulcher & Scott, 2007) Nevertheless,education and social class merged together can in fact generate severaldiscriminations for children.
The study of education and its many inequalitiescontinues to be an area of interest within the education of sociology which hasa positive influence in moulding educational guidelines within the UnitedKingdom. Research has projected that discrimination within the educationalsystem does indeed continue to show existence within the United Kingdom. Thegreater or higher an individual may be within the social ladder, the likelychance they are able to achieve educational success. These outcomes have beenled an enormous display of educational inequalities and questions as to whythese issues are still found within the UK’s education system today.
Accordingto the OECD glossary of statistical terms, material deprivation refers to theinability for an individual or a household to afford those consumption good andactivities that are typical in society at a given point in time, irrespectiveof people’s preferences with respect to these items (stats.oecd.org. Accessed15/11/2017). Material deprivation can derive when there is some sort ofunderline “poverty”, ill health in one or more parents causing them to beunable to provide certain things for their children which could eventually leadto neglect of a child either physically, emotionally and in this caseintellectually. These factors such as these that potentially affect childrenwho are from working class homes due to low paid incomes within the family orfamilies that rely on government benefits which stops these children fromattaining educational achievements within schools.
They lack basic recourseseach child needs to perform well at school such as books, the correct diet tofuel a child and a study place at home needed to succeed in their studies butdue to overcrowding this is unlikely to be provided which will therefore causea child to underachieve within school which potentially leads a child to pickup a part-time job when they reach the school leaving age to assist in theimprovement of their living situation and remove several financial strains oftheir parents. This is so they themselves are able to pay for school trips,resources and other necessities to ensure they have the best school experience. Additionally,Hasley Heath and Ridge (1980) assessed reasons for inequalities existing witheducation for working class children and had found that children who are foundto be in middle class backgrounds had a higher chance to further onto highereducation in comparison to working class children. This is simply due to thelack of income within working class households as middle-class households areable to pay for extra curriculum class, activities, booksand other things to help them develop their learning in order to achieve greatacademic results.
However, it can be argued that material attributes are notalways the primary reason for underachievement within working class householdsas children from these working-class households are able to attain and achievegreat educational success. According to Hasley Heath and Ridge it is believedthat it is in fact cultural factors such as “encouragement andparental attitudes that played major roles within a child’seducational achievement and attainment within school”.(Abercrombie Warde and Deem, 2001) Culturaldeprivation is a theory within sociology which claims that member of theworking class cannot easily acquire cultural capital, hampering their access toeducation as well as upward social mobility. This theory can also be defined asa situation in which a parent who is unable to provide in the way of “linguistic stimulation and interest in theirchild’s education.
It is also when achild has limited time to play and engage in other experiences which are helpfulto a child’s intellectual development”. (Silver, 1980.P40). Thisstatement recognises that rather than material deprivation causinginequalities, it is actually cultural deprivation that causes the working classto perform very differently when compared to their peers. It can be argued thatworking class children are deprived because the working class “subculturefails to transit the correct values and skills needed for high achievement”within theeducation system (Fulcher & Scott).
Equally, a lower value is fixed oneducational attainment and achievement as it is seen that the working classprimarily focuses on an instant gratification where they are influenced toleave education once aged 16 and earn and income rather than “Optingfor a deferred gratification” which middle class households adopt, this is whereeducation to them is seen as a road to success as it typically results tohigher paid jobs. Although as argued before within most cultural settings suchas lower class families from minority homes such as black people and Asianpeople, education is typically used a key to many opportunities as it is lesslikely they will have access to the educational benefits that the UnitedKingdom has to offer which may result in a lower class child achieving muchgreater results than the middle class child as they are typically enrolled ontogood schools and later on good jobs due to the old school boys networkingwhereas in this case most lower class families are unable to access these fewprivileges. It can also be arguedthat cultural deprivation does not typically exist in lower class households,especially the ones where minorities live as these types of people try as muchas possible to encourage their community to be better and become successful togive back to those lower-class households that are unable to provideencouragement and also materials to their children in order for them to alsobecome successful within education and later on prominent within their jobroles. However, it is more likely for a child to suffer from culturaldeprivation than material deprivation which could lead them to become deviantwithin classrooms which could result in exclusion from the educationalinstitution they were in. the lack of encouragement from schools as well aswithin the home can later result in the working-class child to become part ofgangs and potentially result to violence as they given the attention andencouragement from negative influences. JBDouglas (1962) study of “The home and TheSchool” supports the theory of culturaldeprivation theory, Heled a longitudinal study in the 1960’s of a number of children and monitoredtheir educational path until they reached the school leaving age of 16. Heseparated the students into various social group and had discovered that therewere variety within the educational achievement but the achievements came fromdifferent social classes. Douglas found that within the higher ability groups,majority of the working-class children had left schoolwithin the 5th year in comparison to the 10 percent found in themiddle class.
Douglas argued that the most significant factor which caused thesedissimilarities within the achievement between the working class andmiddle-class children is the points of parental interests and encouragements inrelation to their children’s education. He also argues that parents in workingclass households exhibited little to no interest within their children’seducation while parents from middle class households encouraged their childrento attain good grades and encourage them to go on to further education, theyalso paid greater attention to their children’s intellectual growth anddevelopment through frequent school meetings, such as parents evenings. Althoughwe can see that parental interest positively influence children’s attainment inschool education. It should not be the only factor viewed when clarifying differenceswithin educational attainment and achievement. It has been argued by Blackstoneand Mortimore (1994) that parents in working class household were unable tounable to attend parent’s evenings due to demands of their manual jobs.Consequently, there are many factors that cause inequalities within class andeducation, but the main examples derived from this assignment have beenmaterial and cultural deprivation and how both play a huge role in the way achild progresses within the educational system.
In my opinion, materialdeprivation does play a greater role in the way a child learns because in orderfor a child to have the best school experience and attain and achieve goodgrades, money has to be spent to ensure they are involved in as much activitiesand extra-curricular activities possible. Although cultural deprivation is afactor of underachievement within some working-class homes, it is not havinggreat within working class households who are minorities as they use educationas a key and as a tool to better life for them and their family as educationalbenefits are not as accessible within their counties as it is within the UnitedKingdom.