chapter  4
17 Pages

Selection and segregation in English secondary education

WithMichael Parkinson

The debate about comprehensive education, about the problems of selection and segregation in education, has been a confused one. Its participants have included politicians, parents, administrators, teachers, educationalists, economists and educational psychologists and sociologists. English education has traditionally mirrored the English social structure. Whether or not the intention has been to stratify it on functional educational lines, the result has been stratification of the education system along the lines of social class. The development of an education system, however, is not dependent solely upon educational considerations. Social and economic factors also play a crucial role. Indeed, the English education system has traditionally expanded to meet the demands placed upon it by the social system it serves. Critics of segregation have thus argued that it is socially and educationally unjust to pass off less intelligent children into schools which are inferior to selective schools.