Social Class, Educational Opportunity and Equal Entitlement: dilemmas of schooling in England and France
ABSTRACT Through a comparison of the beliefs, goals and teaching methods adopted by primary school teachers working in areas of disadvantage in England and France, this paper considers how the education systems of the two countries resolve the dilemmas involved in providing educational opportunities to children of all social class backgrounds. Traditionally, the centralised French system, strongly influenced by a republican ideological tradition, has adopted a policy of equal entitlement and equal treatment for all, while the English system has enshrined the notion of differentiated teaching according to the perceived needs of the child. In research carried out before recent reforms, significant differences were found in the goals which inner city teachers set themselves in the two countries. Recent follow-up research indicates the continued central importance of teachers' values in the light of strong external pressure to change.
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