Underachievement In Education Essay

1519 Words 6 Pages
In June 2013, OFSTED carried out a report which exposed how white working class children underachieved in education. The results showed that children that were entitled to free school meals were lower performing in education at 16, only representing 31% of the group achieving 5 or more GCSE’s at A* to C grade. This statistic is of high importance and Sir Michael Wilshaw (Her Majesty’s chief inspector) explained that the size of the working class group meant that it is a major issue needs to be resolved (House of Commons, June 2014, p5). Cultural Deprivation theorists believe that basic skills and values required for Educational achievement is acquired through primary socialisation and that the working class are deprived of this socialisation. …show more content…
He categorised working class attitudes as well as values into four different categories: Fatalism, Collectivism, immediate gratification and present-time orientation. Fatalism is the acceptance of a situation rather than attempting to improve or change it; within education this applies to grades and the attempt to improve results. Immediate gratification is living for the moment and the pleasures it may bring rather than looking to improve the future; in education the working class believe that a weekly or monthly wage is more important than a potential fulfilling future career. Thirdly, present time orientation applies to how the working class lack the ability to create future targets and long-term goals; the result is a lack of educational motivation as there is no sense of purpose on how it will affect future achievements. Finally, collectivism is where an individual feels they belong to a subordinate social group rather than acting as an individual; in education students are asked to work for themselves and as individuals. These four factors can therefore disadvantage working class children within the education system, resulting in underachievement in comparison to those from middle class homes (Haralambos & Holborn, 2008, …show more content…
She explains that educational failure is more prominent as society becomes more unequal and that each individual is responsible for their own success within education and their career. According to Reay, the working class are in the mindset of immediate gratification and lack the confidence to pursue a highly qualified career; the middle class on the other hand are future orientated through socialisation and parental support, therefore striving to develop as individuals and achieve the most possible based on the image of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Therefore education can be seen as a divide between those striving for success as to contribute to a society that is always developing and those who lack the confidence and ability to succeed; it caters for winners of society and reinforces the position of losers. This divide is vital as to increase the value of educational success; if all individuals were able to gain the same outcome then the significance of education wouldn’t be as high. From this perspective, working class individuals are to be blamed for their underachievement as well as it being societies way of containing and pacifying the working class rather than to liberate and education them (Reay D, 2010,

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