Education and Social Justice: The Changing Composition of Schools and Its Implications

Education and Social Justice: The Changing Composition of Schools and Its Implications

Education and Social Justice: The Changing Composition of Schools and Its Implications

Education and Social Justice: The Changing Composition of Schools and Its Implications

Synopsis

A comprehensive appraisal of the quality of education in Britain, comprising a study of the far-reaching implications of the changing composition of schools on the educational system in the context of social justice and opportunities, based on original research and detailed analysis.

Excerpt

This book is based on six major datasets collected and analysed by the author over the last four years. Secondary data on all school examination results in Wales 1992–7, from Key Stage One to A level, by subject and gender were provided by the Welsh Office and the Welsh Joint Education Committee (ACCAC grant). Secondary data on student poverty, ethnicity, language and special educational need 1989–98, at school level for every school in England, were provided by the DfEE (ESRC grant R000238031). Secondary data on poverty, ethnicity, language and special educational need 1989–98 for most schools in Wales were collected from local archives by the researcher. Primary data on the process of school choice were collected from 1,300 survey respondents in south Wales, both parents and children, followed by a 5 per cent subsample of in-depth interviews (ESRC training grant). These sources have been supplemented by: primary data on lifelong patterns of participation in education collected from 1,100 survey respondents in south Wales, aged 15–65, followed by a 10 per cent subsample of in-depth interviews (ESRC Learning Society Programme grant L123251041); an analysis of trends in educational participation and qualification using the Labour Force Survey (National Assembly grant), and a number of interviews concerning technical barriers to educational participation (Spencer Foundation, USA grant SG#199900305). This information, along with publicly available data such as school examination results (‘league tables’), allows the author to conduct a wide-ranging reappraisal of many previous accounts of the relationship between education and social justice. The results will be surprising to many readers.

According to many accounts, educational participation, performance and attainment in Britain have become more and more polarized in the 1990s. We are in danger of starting the twenty-first century with what is seen as an unfair and derided education system. Evidence for these failures comes from the poor performance of the home countries in international assessments of educational attainment, the marked differences in school effectiveness in the four . . .

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