I hope that you find the information in these essays useful but would strongly recommend that you write your own essays using the PEEEL approach or something very similar to it. Obviously your teachers will advise you as to appropriate essay writing technique.
This essay ends with a summary of approximately 600 words and I hope that if students are aiming to write examination length answers to this essay question they might be able to use this summary in the construction of their own essay plans. Good luck with that anyway!
Document last edited:16/07/2020
In order to analyse sociological approaches to the analysis of the relationships between formal education systems and the economy we must distinguish between pre-industrial societies where education is provided more informally in families, churches and workplaces and industrial societies where formal education systems expand [as an aspect of structural differentiation ]to meet the needs of industrial economies for more skilled specialised workers. We must also distinguish between the formal academic curriculum and the hidden curriculum which may be defined as the set of norms and values implicitly conveyed to pupils by teachers' words and actions and by the organisational processes operating in schools.
Most sociologists would agree that formal education systems fulfil the following functions [most of which are directly related in various ways to the economic organisation of society:
- the transmission of knowledge and skills;
- the provision of a bridging mechanism between the particularistic family and the more universalistic wider society ;
- the transmission of attitudes and values as an aspect of the socialisation process ;
- the allocation of individuals to appropriate roles in society;
- the compensatory function whereby disadvantaged students may receive additional assistance to compensate for the disadvantages of a poor background.
I shall first summarise the Functionalist , Marxist, Feminist and Interactionist approaches to the analysis of relationships between formal education systems and the economy and then describe in more detail the educational policies which successive governments have implemented in their attempts to increase overall economic efficiency.
Functionalism is based upon a consensus model of society such that industrial societies are seen as basically economically efficient, democratic, and meritocratic and are believed to operate in the interests of all of their citizens. Functionalists believe that formal education systems contribute to economic efficiency and to the effective functioning of these societies as a whole. Functionalist sociologists such as Talcott Parsons recognised that relationships between formal education systems and the economy were important for several reasons.1. As industrial economies become increasingly complex, formal education systems would have to expand to transmit the knowledge and skills necessary for such economies. 2. If economies are to be efficient it is desirable that individuals are allocated to their economic roles on the basis of their own individual merits and Parsons argued that the formal education system in the USA of the 1950s was indeed organised on meritocratic principles and used complex systems of assessment, schools and colleges to evaluate fairly the talents, strengths and weaknesses of their students .He further argued that assessment procedures had a major impact on the employment prospects of young people concerned in that it is educationally successful students who are most likely to be allocated to occupations which are functionally most important and well-paid. Thus formal education systems have an important role to play in the meritocratic allocation of individuals to economic roles which results in greater economic efficiency and higher living standards in the economy as a whole. 3. Talcott Parsons argued that the core values of US society in the 1950s and 1960s were beliefs in individual achievement and equality of opportunity and that schools played an important role via the hidden curriculum in socialising students to accept these values. In so doing, the US formal educational system is seen as playing a role which is highly beneficial or functional for the US economy as a whole because:
a. Industry and commerce requires punctual, efficient, achievement -oriented ,industrious workers who identify with the aims of their employers if an economy is to operate efficiently. [To see that this is so you might like to consider the possible effects on the USA economy if the entire younger generation had decided to live according to the "hippie" philosophy of the 1960s. Of course this may have made for a more fulfilling life. Who knows? ]
Marxists argue that formal education systems are designed to meet the needs of the capitalist economy and to ensure that the interests and privileged lifestyles of the capitalist ruling class are sustained while working class children are prepared primarily for employment in low skill, low status, low paid, alienating jobs. It is admitted that some working class students will be successful in education and achieve social mobility but claimed by Marxists that this serves merely as a smokescreen which hides the inequality of opportunity which is central to capitalist educational systems.
In the Marxist view the continuation of capitalism depends upon the availability of workers with different levels of skill ready to play significantly different roles and to accept significantly different levels of income in the capitalist economy. In addition capitalism demands that the education system via the Hidden Curriculum[ and in conjunction with the other agencies of socialisation] ensures that there is broad based ideological support for capitalism. It follows that so long as the capitalist system remains even if the education system operates with a little relative autonomy, social class, ethnic and gender differences in educational achievement and attitudes sympathetic to the continuation of capitalism will remain because they themselves are essential to the continuation of capitalism.
Marxists are critical of Conservative and Labour approaches to education policy because both of these approaches are sympathetic to the continuation of the capitalist system which , according to Marxists, inhibits the possibility that education policy can be used to the real advantage of all members of society. According to Marxists even radical social Democrats are unlikely to challenge the capitalist system and therefore unlikely to introduce truly liberating education policies which means that education policies will continue to have an important role to play in the reproduction of capitalist class structures. In the Marxist View only the abolition of capitalist can lead to a truly liberating education for all. Of course the entire Marxist analysis of capitalist societies and their education systems can be criticised from all of the other perspectives mentioned in this essay. Perhaps this is a little exercise which you would like to undertake for yourselves.
Fordism, Post-Fordism , Neo-Fordism and Education
It has been claimed that the type of correspondence theory developed by Marxists Bowles and Gintis in the 1970s might well apply to the Fordist phase of capitalism which was based upon routinised factory production requiring a large proportion of relatively unskilled workers who were not required to exercise their own initiative or creativity within the production process.
However from the 1970s onwards it came to be argued that capitalism was entering a Post-Fordist phase in which production processes would increasingly be computerised and that this would generate greater demand for so-called core workers [professional workers , technicians and skilled craft workers] who would increasingly be consulted by management and given greater opportunities to exercise their own creativity within the work environment. As a result, it was claimed, productivity would increase and there would be less likelihood of conflict in industrial relations . It was also recognised that there would also be unskilled or semi-skilled peripheral workers who would be relatively poorly paid and might be employed on part-time and/or temporary contracts peripheral but it was hoped that Post-Fordism would result in the relative expansion of employment for core workers.. Thus it now became highly desirable that the formal education system should encourage the development of individuality and creativity, prioritise the value of team work and problem solving in new vocationally relevant courses and prepare increasing numbers of students for access to higher education. Now the organisation of the education system should indeed correspond to the organisation of the economy but NOT simply by encouraging deference and respect for authority in the ways suggested by Bowles and Gintis.
During the 1980s there were several studies which sought to analyse the extent to which Post- Fordism was indeed replacing Fordism which led to disputes as to the relative growth of Core and Peripheral workers and the extent to which the Core workers were or were not becoming increasingly skilled , consulted by management and more content in their working environments .Commenting on these studies in the 1990s M. Haralambos [4th edition ] noted that the extent of change varied from industry to industry and from occupation to occupation.
Click here for an article on Core and Periphery [John Atkinson 1984]
In his critical assessment of the UK education system Patrick Ainley [Betraying a Generation : How Education is Failing Young People 2016] has argued that the extent of transition from Fordism to Post-Fordism has been much overstated and that although some parts of the economy may have developed in a Post-Fordist direction others could be described as operating under conditions of Neo-Fordism. Thus he argues that although increasing numbers of students have graduated from university many have failed to secure graduate level employment because of the relatively slow growth of graduate-level jobs: they are essentially GRINGOS [ graduates in non-graduate occupations]. Meanwhile the service sector of the economy has seen the growth of routine, tightly supervised, poorly paid jobs [ often on zero hours contracts offering very limited job satisfaction in call centres or fast food outlets or in social care where at least the level of job satisfaction may be much higher even if working conditions are difficult.
Thus according to Patrick Ainley the education system has become increasing examination based and competitive but given the limited growth of graduate level employment only a minority of students [ mainly from more privileged backgrounds ] can expect that their educational success will lead to well paid and satisfying employment . Furthermore Marxists would argue that the formal education system continues to fail to provide opportunities for the fundamental critique of capitalism despite the fact that it is the capitalist system itself which threatens the actual survival of the planet. Of course many would argue the exact reverse : environmentally sustainable capitalism will actually save the planet. Scope for some discussion here!
Click here and here for important new development: Government to scrap 50% of young to university Education target .[July 9th 2020] Now the UK Government is arguing that there must be a rebalancing of education to more vocational and technical education delivered via high level apprenticeship schemes provided by Further Education colleges. The Universities are critical of these plans.
Click here to download a short review of Patrick Ainley's book
It is clear that in the last twenty or so years the educational achievements of female students have improved rapidly relative to those of males. This is due partly [but not entirely] to education policies in that there is now greater emphasis in schools on equal opportunities which is reflected , for example, in new teaching materials, careers advice and the introduction of the national curriculum which made sciences compulsory for all students up to the age of 16. All Feminists are no doubt pleased with these developments but while Liberal feminists are broadly supportive of gradualism Marxist/Socialist Feminists and Black Feminists would note the disappointing educational achievements of working class and some ethnic minority girls while Radical Feminists would criticise the continued existence of a Hidden Curriculum which ignores some of the concerns of radical feminism. Thus Marxist/Socialist Feminists would argue that only the abolition of capitalism, possibly via revolutionary means, will result in real equality of educational opportunity for males and females in all social classes and all ethnic groups while Radical Feminists argue that only the ending of Patriarchy in society will create the conditions for equality of educational opportunity.
Interactionist sociologists have focused especially on the possible effects of both positive and negative labelling on subsequent pupil achievements. The conclusions of Interactionist studies may be used to suggest that under the tripartite system of secondary education success or failure in the 11+ examination would be likely to have positive and negative labelling effects respectively but that the existence of streaming/banding/setting within Comprehensive schools or even of unofficial ability groupings within nominally mixed ability classes may well mean that the some forms of labelling continue despite the expansion of comprehensivisation .Some more recent studies do suggest that in general negative labelling is nowadays less likely to occur although this conclusion has itself been denied in other recent interactionist studies. Furthermore Labour education spokespersons currently argue that streaming/banding/setting arrangements actually provide better learning environments than does mixed ability teaching.... a view which may interactionists [and others] would not accept.
New Right theorists agree with Functionalists that industrial societies should ideally be organised as capitalist societies and that education systems should operate to meet the needs of capitalism but these New Right theorists also argued in the 1970s and 1980s that in practice state education systems were organised inefficiently and that both their formal and hidden curricula were not sufficiently geared to meeting the needs of industry.
From the 1970s onwards successive Conservative[ 1979-1997], Labour [1997-2010], Coalition[2010-2015] and Conservative Government[2015--] have argued that the processes of globalisation have made it even more necessary for education policies to foster increased economic efficiency . Click here and here for a BBC items on the CBI and skills training illustrating the concerns of the CBI that the UK education system was failing in various ways to meet the needs of industry and commerce. [Links added June -July 2013].
Thus globalisation has resulted in the expansion of international trade leading to the substantial relocation of manufacturing industry from advanced capitalist countries such as the UK to the Global South where labour costs are much lower and this , coupled with increased labour productivity in the advanced capitalist countries, has led to a process of de-industrialisation involving the decline of manufacturing employment especially in unskilled and semi-skilled occupations. Successive UK governments have therefore argued that if employment prospects and living standards are to be maintained more students must be educated and trained for future employment for the more highly skilled occupations within manufacturing and within the expanding service industries such as banking, insurance and leisure industries. Essentially it has been argued that both domestic and international economic trends have resulted in a shift from Fordism to Post-Fordism and that it is essential that the education system must be reformed so as to correspond to this new post-Fordist economic situation. This would necessitate changes in the organisation of the overall school system, increases in the industrial and commercial relevance of the schools curriculum, increased opportunities for industrial training and increasing access to Higher Education. That reforms of the UK education were necessary has been further emphasised as a result of the sometimes relatively low ranking of the UK in PISA tests although some limitations of these tests have also been recognised. [Click here for some information from the BBC on the most recent PISA tests ]
Click here for a detailed paper on Education and Globalisation. A key issue raised in this paper is that in countries such as India and China increasing numbers of highly skilled graduates are being educated who nevertheless continue to earn salaries considerably lower than those earned by comparable workers in the "developed world.". We have already seen relatively unskilled jobs relocated to the "third World" leading to fewer unskilled jobs in the developed world. Could it become more economic for transnational companies to relocate professional work also to India and China in which case what will happen to employment prospects in the UK even for graduates?
I have not as yet considered the likely impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on the likely trends in globalisation but will try to do so fairly soon!
Conservative education policies 1979-1997 have reflected an overall commitment to New Right ideology and especially to neo-liberalism. The Coalition Government of 2010-2015 retained commitment to neo-liberalism but also, perhaps due to the influence of the Liberal Democrats , introduced a Pupil Premium designed to help disadvantaged students and this policy has been continued by subsequent Conservative Governments .
Thus successive Conservative governments have continually supported the existence of Private Education but also introduced important reforms of State Education. . They have argued that the development of the National Curriculum , the introduction of SATs at ages, 7, 11 and 14, OFSTED inspections and the publication of school league tables would enable parents to make a more informed choice among a wider variety of schools including at various times City Technology Colleges, Grant Maintained Schools, Specialised School, Faith schools , Academies , Free schools and University Technology Colleges as well as orthodox Local -Authority-Maintained Comprehensive Schools. Since the funding of all state schools was also to become much more dependent upon student numbers successive governments argued that this so-called quasi-marketisation of education would enable apparently effective, successful schools to expand at the expense of apparently ineffective schools [some of which would be forced to close] which was to drive up overall standards. It was hoped also that socially and economically disadvantaged students who had for years been denied access to a good education would also benefit from this new approach to educational policy
New Right theorists argued also in favour of increased emphasis within the formal curriculum on the transmission of knowledge and skills specifically relevant to the needs of industry and commerce, and against " liberal progressive" social ideas and teaching methods. According to New Right theorists these reforms would enable formal education systems to fulfil their economic functions more effectively.
There were ,however been several criticisms of this so -called New Vocationalism introduced in the 1980s. It was claimed that a significant divide has been created between academic and vocational courses and that schools in any case are not suited or resourced for the teaching of business- related courses. It is also claimed in relation to training schemes that they aimed to shift the blame for youth unemployment from government policy onto the education system; that training schemes were a means of reducing the official unemployment figures; that little real training was given; that the schemes reinforced traditional gender roles; that the training was at the expense of a more valuable general education and that the purpose of the schemes was often to encourage passivity and acceptance of low wages among young people.However, supporters of the schemes have argued correctly that some useful training was given which increased the employability of the trainees concerned. Nevertheless, more generally, after 18 years of Conservative government, there were still great concerns that the economic competitiveness of the UK economy was declining because the UK workforce was on average less skilled than the workforces of our major competitors, a problem which subsequent Labour governments have also failed to solve.
It was also regarded as essential for access to Higher Education to be increased ain order to prepare more future workers for employment in more highly skilled occupations given that the availability of unskilled and semi-skilled work was expected to decline and this expansion of Higher Education did indeed occur under the Conservative Governments of 1979-1997 and under subsequent Labour , Coalition and recent Conservative Governments.
Labour Governments accepted the continued existence of Private Schools and accepted also much of the Conservatives "choice and diversity agenda based around the introduction of a quasi market in education via increased support for Specialised Schools, Faith, Schools and City Academies. However Labour also introduced a variety of compensatory education policies such as increased nursery provision ,the Sure Start Programme ,reduced class sizes and the Education Action Zones and Excellence in Cities programmes which are clearly designed to target additional resources on poorer children.
It has been argued that the Labour Party drifted to the ideological Centre under the leadership of Tony Blair who ,it was claimed , had accepted a more moderate version of social democracy linked to the so-called Third Way which had been developed most notably by the eminent sociologist Anthony Giddens. For his supporters the Blairite approach represented a constructive attempt to modernise the ideology of social democracy in accordance with changing economic. social and political conditions whereas for his critics within the Labour Party the Blairite approach amounted to little more than warmed ove neo-liberalism or "Thatcherism with a smiling face".his critics
These more critical radical Social Democrats claimed that these Blairite policies were insufficient to reduce the massive social class, ethnic and gender inequalities of educational achievement which continued to exist and that the relative educational opportunities of disadvantaged pupils could be increased only via the abolition of private and state selective grammar schools and additional financial resources for the Sure Start Programme and for future programmes replacing the EAZ and EiC programmes and by the rethinking of Labour policies on diversity and choice. Even then broader social and economic and social policies to reduce poverty and inequality would also be necessary because many Social Democrats believe that it may well still be true that as Basil Bernstein stated in the 1970s"Education cannot compensate for society."
Labour did also introduce a variety of vocational education initiatives designed to increase pupil employability but there were also concerns that schools would encourage only "unacademic" students [for whom traditional GCSEs and Advanced Levels are seen as inappropriate ] to take these courses; that the courses would be perceived similarly as low status courses by the students themselves; and that Universities might not accept these qualifications as equivalent to traditional Advanced Levels. Thus the academic-vocational divide which had bedevilled the UK education system for years might remain for the foreseeable future . However the increasing popularity of Two-Year Foundation degrees which combined vocational and academic elements did perhaps offer hope for the future.
In summary while some Social Democrats have argued that on balance Labour's education policies should increase pupils' overall educational achievements by improving average standards, increasing, equality of opportunity and vocational relevance others argue that more fundamental educational reform involving the abolition of Private Education and State Selective Education and increased targeting of resources on disadvantaged pupils at every level of the education system combined with wider social and economic reforms are all necessary if equality of educational opportunity is to be achieved. It is noteworthy that after 13 successive years of Labour government that even though average educational achievements have improved there are still very significant class, gender and ethnic inequalities in educational achievement and ongoing concerns that on average the UK labour force is less skilled than the labour forces of our major competitors.
Labour Governments 1997-2010 introduced several initiatives designed to increase the economic relevance of educational curricula .
In an ideal world these new vocationally based courses would enthuse students to adopt more positive attitudes to education in the recognition that what they are learning would help them to improve significantly their future employment prospects. However many of the criticisms which were applied to the Conservatives' New Vocationalism initiatives are already being applied to these more recent Labour initiatives:
While some Social democrats are relatively optimistic that standards, equality of opportunity and vocational relevance can all be increased others recognise that it will be no simple matter to achieve the meaningful educational reforms which they seek. It is noteworthy that after 13 successive years of Labour government there are still very significant class inequalities in educational achievement and ongoing concerns that on average the UK labour force is less skilled than the labour forces of our major competitors.
It should be noted also that for several years there have been criticisms of the organisation of apprenticeship schemes by both Conservative and Labour governments and the following links give information on apprenticeship trends and issues under recent Labour , Coalition and Conservative Governments. Students may choose to read the shorter Independent article for a sense of the issues involved but much more detailed information is available [if required] in the Select Committee Report.
Click here for a critical assessment of apprenticeship schemes as of 2015 from the Independent [August 2015]
Click here for a detailed report on Apprenticeships from the House of Commons Education Select Committee March 2015]
Click here for a House Of Commons Research Brief on Apprenticeships
Click here for OFSTED Report and here for BBC coverage of this report. October 2015
The Coalition Government of 2010-15 emphasised that further reforms of the education system would be necessary to improve the overall effectiveness of the education system as a means of increasing the competitiveness of the UK economy within the increasingly globalised economic system.
The then Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove outlined his general approach in September 2010 when he announced the setting up of a review of vocational education for 14-19 year olds to be led by Professor Alison Wolf. Click here for a summary of Mr Gove's views. Thus according to Mr. Gove:
Some Further Developments 2015-2020
Increasing numbers of Academies and Free Schools have opened and students should ensue that they are familiar with the possible advantages and disadvantages of Free Schools and Academies
Click here and follow the links to Summary for current numbers of Academies, Free Schools and UTC s in May 2020. As indicated in the table academisation has proceeded further in the Secondary Phase than in the Primary Phase
Overall % of state funded schools, LA maintained schools and Alternative provision, by phase Phase of Education Converter Sponsored Free schools UTCs Studio Schools Total Academies LA Maintained Schools Total Mainstream Primary (incl. MD Primary) 25.1% 9.2% 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 35.5% 64.5% 100.0% Mainstream Secondary (incl. MD secondary, AT and 16+) 47.3% 21.7% 6.3% 1.4% 0.7% 77.5% 22.5% 100.0% Special 27.0% 6.7% 4.4% 0.0% 0.0% 38.1% 61.9% 100.0% Alternative Provision 20.6% 7.7% 13.5% 0.0% 0.0% 41.8% 58.2% 100.0% Total 28.7% 11.1% 2.4% 0.2% 0.1% 42.5% 57.5% 100.0%
Click here for Guardian article [December 2019] on Academies' and Free Schools' SATs results
Click here and here and here for items on University Technical Colleges
Click here and here for items on apprenticeships and click here for a detailed Sutton Trust Report on Degree Apprenticeships
Click here for Guardian article on proposed introduction of T Levels suggesting they might not be available in September 2020. However the DFE has recently announced that these courses will be available in approximately 50 schools /colleges in September 2020. Click here for further information from the DfE and here for a BBC item on T Levels.
Click here for article on latest Pisa results
Increasing numbers of students have continued to Higher Education but significant class inequalities in access to Higher Education remain as is indicated in the following tables although, of course eligibility and ineligibility for free school meals are an inadequate measure of social class membership.
Table 1a: Percentage of pupils from state-funded and special schools who entered HE by age 19 and the percentage who progressed to high tariff HE providers by Free School Meal Status Years: 2005/06 to 2017/18 Coverage: UK higher education providers and English further education colleges % Entered HE by age 19 FSM Status 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 Free School Meals 14.2% 15.1% 15.9% 17.4% 18.6% 19.8% 20.3% 21.3% 22.3% 24.1% 25.7% 26.2% 26.3% All Other Pupils 33.5% 34.0% 34.0% 34.9% 36.2% 37.4% 38.3% 38.8% 39.1% 41.6% 43.3% 43.9% 44.9% Gap (pp) 19.2 18.9 18.0 17.6 17.6 17.7 18.0 17.5 16.8 17.5 17.6 17.7 18.6 All 30.7% 31.3% 31.4% 32.5% 33.9% 35.1% 36.0% 36.6% 36.8% 39.2% 40.7% 41.2% 42.2% % Entered High Tariff HE by age 19 FSM Status 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 Free School Meals N/A N/A N/A 1.7% 2.0% 2.5% 2.8% 2.4% 2.7% 3.3% 3.2% 3.1% 3.4% All Other Pupils N/A N/A N/A 8.2% 9.4% 9.5% 10.6% 9.6% 10.1% 11.4% 11.5% 10.9% 11.2% Gap (pp) N/A N/A N/A 6.5 7.5 7.0 7.8 7.1 7.3 8.1 8.3 7.8 7.8 All N/A N/A N/A 7.3% 8.4% 8.6% 9.6% 8.7% 9.1% 10.3% 10.3% 9.8% 10.1% pp = percentage points  FSM Status relates to whether pupils were receiving Free School Meals at age 15 or not.  Gap is the difference between FSM and all other pupils expressed in percentage points. Source: Matched data from the DfE National Pupil Database, HESA Student Record and ESFA ILR
Students should also recall Patrick Ainley's critical analysis of Higher Education trends which is summarised above in which he argues that many University graduates end up in GRINGO jobs.
Click here and here for important new development: Government to scrap 50% of young to university Education target . Now the UK Government is arguing that there must be a rebalancing of education to more vocational and technical education delivered via high level apprenticeship schemes provided by Further Education colleges. The Universities are critical of these plans.
Click here for BBC item on COVID 10 and the UK Higher Education sector
In summary it is clear that there are important linkages between education systems and the economy but these linkages can be analysed from different perspectives. Functionalists claim that educational systems operate to increase economic efficiency so as to benefit all members of society .
More critically, Marxists have argued that formal education systems certainly meet the needs of capitalist economies but that they do so by preparing mainly working class pupils for their particular place as low paid workers in an exploitative unjust capitalist industrial system .
Feminists argue that even despite recent advances in overall female educational achievements , many working class girls and some ethnic minority girls are still relatively unsuccessful in educational terms which impedes economic efficiency as a whole. There are also significantly different attitudes to relationships between education and the economy as between different kinds of feminists
Interactionists have not focussed greatly on relationships between education and the economy but their arguments can be used as part of the explanation why formal education systems are not meritocratic and why therefore they may inhibit social justice and economic efficiency.
UK Governments have recognised from the late 19th Century onwards that the expansion of formal education systems was essential if the UK was to maintain and hopefully increase its economic capabilities and education policies were increasingly designed with this objective in mind. These competitive pressures have intensified in the era of globalisation and successive UK governments from the 1970s onwards have responded with policies to increase the quasi-marketisation of education, to increase the vocational relevance of school education, to improve apprenticeships and to expand the Higher Education sector.
In each case , however, significant criticisms have been made of these initiatives. Thus it has been claimed that the quasi-marketisation of education has inhibited equality of educational opportunity and thereby led to the wastage of talent; that the effectiveness of vocational education within schools remains limited; that University Technical Colleges and new Apprenticeship schemes have been relatively unsuccessful [although Advanced Apprenticeship schemes have been effective]; and that the growth of graduate employment has not kept pace with the increasing supply of graduates so that the promised transition to Post-Fordist prosperity has not materialised in practice.. Although employment opportunities for many graduates have increased others are effectively GRINGOS [graduates in non-graduate employment] while many poorly educated young people must continued to accept poorly paid precarious work in what Patrick Ainley describes as the Neo-Fordist sector of the economy.
Also although female and ethnic minority educational achievements are increasing they are still discriminated against in the labour market in various ways while for Marxists , the inadequacies of a capitalist education system in an unequal , unjust capitalist economy are all too predictable. Equally predictable , however, may be the limited influence of Marxist thought on new developments in educational policy, rightly or wrongly.