Posted by: mrlock | November 29, 2013

School curriculum and subject choice: the new battleground for social mobility

Great stuff from Chris Hall here on the curriculum and subject choice

British Education Policy

One of the key features of our education system is that at certain points it gives students a choice about what they study. Perhaps the most obvious example is in post-16 education where they get to pick between studying A-levels or a more vocational alternative such as BTEC’s. Similar choices also exist at GCSE level. These choices have important consequences for the student’s future: taking some qualifications shuts off options that would have been available to them had they studied something else. It would be worrying, therefore, if these choices were determined not just by academic ability or personal preference but by social background. Unfortunately the evidence suggests that this is exactly what happens. Controlling for prior academic attainment, one study found that the probability of someone from a high socio-economic background studying academic subject’s post-16 was 79% compared to a 31% chance for those from low socio-economic backgrounds. The…

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Responses

  1. Interesting post. Pity you see a hierarchy of so-called core subjects with science having high status and the arts having low status, regardless of the interests, aptitudes, enthusiasms and aspirations of the students. Maybe you could share some thoughts about personalising learning in our digital age in a future post. If I were a member of a panel interviewing for a headteacher I’d certainly want to know their thoughts in such matters.

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