Post war improvements in education and health have reduced social class inequalities and have resulted in improved life chances for all. ‘ Discuss the accuracy of this statement. The Education act 1944, radically overhauled education in England and Wales. One of the ground-breaking results of the Act was to educate and mobilise women and the working class. It lead to the introduction of the tripartite system which took children, who would other wise have been in the work house, and gave them free school places.
The system was intended to allocate pupils to schools best suited to their abilities and aptitudes by streaming them into different schools, Secondary Modern or Grammar for the high achievers, via a test undertaken at 11 years old. The 11+ test did enable mobility for working class children but only those extremely gifted, as in reality the number of grammar schools for the academically inclined remained unchanged and were mostly filled with the middle classes.
By the mid 1950’s there was a growing dissatisfaction on the left with the results of the Tripartite System. Some such as Graham Savage of the London County Council became convinced that the only way to bring about equality was by putting everyone through the same schools. In July 1958 Hugh Gaitskell formally abandoned the tripartite system, calling for “grammar-school education for all”. He asked Local Authorities to prepare to replace the tripartite system with the Comprehensive System and withheld funding for new school buildings from those that did not comply.
Initially there was little resistance to the change as it was seen as an attempt to raise the standards of secondary moderns. However when the plans were implemented in 1970, and many grammar schools began to close, it became apparent that comprehensivisation meant leveling out standards rather than raising them. Many studies on education have been completed since WWII to highlight the successes and failings of both systems. This includes Mary Kellett and Aqsa Dars,s study performed children researching links between, ‘Poverty and Literacy in 2007’ (Blundell and Griffiths, 2008).
The Longitudinal Child Development survey, started in 1958, and The Home and The School study undertaken in 1964 by JWB Douglas. The studies found that many social class factors affect a child’s academic achievements. ‘A clear link has been found between factors, such as low income, poor housing and family size and educational success. ‘(bowes et al, 1990, p118) These working class factors include among others: poverty, class values, parental interest and linguistic codes.