Disclaimer: This is an example of a student written essay.
Click here for sample essays written by our professional writers.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of UKEssays.com.

Is Britain's Education System Meritocratic?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 915 words Published: 7th Jun 2021

Reference this

What do they mean by ‘meritocracy’ ‘this notion is of a “meritocratic” society where the reward someone gets in terms of status and money are determined by their efforts and abilities rather that what they have inherited?’ (Waller,2009).  The purpose of this piece is to assess whether the education system allows students to achieve the best they can according to their ability or does class, race and gender remain crucial factors in determining if British students succeed at school and beyond. 

Many functionalists believe that the education system is meritocratic, where the harder the individual works, the better grades they get, which will result in them getting a better job. Parsons (1961) ‘sees school as preparing individuals to move from family to wider society because school and society are both based on meritocratic principles.’

It is believed by many, that schools create a system where everyone can become equal no matter what class, gender or ethnicity and that everyone has the same opportunities. This can be illustrated in a number of ways which include the 1870 and 1944 Education Acts and the 1988 Education Reform Act, which introduced the National Curriculum, OFSTED, exams and testing, the equal opportunity policies and secondary and higher education. Davis and Moore (1945) ‘believed that education selects talented individuals and allocates them to the most important roles in society. Higher rewards for jobs such as GP’s and pilots encourage competition. Davis and Moore believe that education sifts and sorts according to ability.,

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Essay Writing Service

Marxists such as Paul Willis, Raymond Bourdieu and others do not share this belief and feel that class, race and gender have an impact on our educations. Education is provided for people who come from all economic backgrounds and from all financial situations, not everyone is able to use the education system to the best of their abilities. There are many reasons why functionalist believe that social class has an impact on education.  Those with a low social status may not be able to afford a premier education (private education) or have the necessary tools to complement a public education or continuing education. Marxist believe that there are links with social class and school and pupil’s performance. The wealthier areas are more likely to have better schooling systems. Pupils in a low-income family may be expected to do more at home, support their families, move around a lot or have an unstable home life. This can mean that they are not able to focus solely on theirs studies or may have a lack of access to resources such as books, computers or internet, this may hold back their learning. Pupils may be living in poor housing conditions or have parents with drink or drug problems. This can mean that they could be coming into school scared, worried, tired, cold or hungry and not in the right frame to learn or achieve their best. Poor housing conditions or a poor diet could lead to illness and frequent time off school can cause gaps in their learning.

In education there is a gender gap, this is a difference in educational attainment between boys and girls. There is a gender gap in English from foundation stage through to GCSE. The gender gap in Math’s is smaller than English, girls are more likely to get A*grades at GCSE than boys and boys are more likely to leave school with no GCSE’s. There are important gender differences in subject choice at GCSE- girls are more likely to take arts, languages and humanities and boys are more likely to take Geography, PE and IT. (Department for Education and skills (2007) Boys are 50% more likely than girls to fall short of the basic standers in all three areas (English, Math’s and Science) It is said that girls read more than boys, reading proficiency is the basis upon all over learning is built. When boys struggle with reading their performance in other subjects suffer too. Boys are more likely to spend more time on the internet/ computers than doing their homework set by their teachers. Homework is linked to better performs in the class.

To conclude the education system in contemporary cannot be classed as meritocratic as it does not always allow students to achieve the best they can according to their abilities. Gender, social class and many more crucial factors may determine if British students succeed at school and beyond.



Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:

Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.
Reference Copied to Clipboard.

Related Services

View all

DMCA / Removal Request

If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: