chapter  5
16 Pages

Social background and attainment

So far we have said very little about the influence of 'the home' or 'the family' on patterns of educational and occupational attainment. Of course, there has been frequent mention of 'social background' but this has not been very closely specified. It would appear that this is about the only dimension left that may be able to help us to pin down the precise causes of educational inequality. In the two preceding chapters we have seen that the school environment is not a powerful influence and that inherited ability, although perhaps a small determinant of individual success at school, is distributed far too randomly to tell us anything about the way in which social inequality is created and perpetuated through the school system.