Educational inequality is a reflection of wider social inequalities. Policies to reduce inequality are directly affected by the ideology of the ruling party of the time. Throughout this essay, we will discuss the dominant ideology of modern day Britain to highlight the fact that, despite rhetoric used by consecutive neoliberal governments, reducing the education gap is not prevalent within current UK education policy. Providing the general standard of education continues to improve as a whole, inequalities in education are not a priority. .
To begin with, let us break down the title into its most basic interpretation which is 'what measures have our government taken to reduce inequality and improve social mobility through the medium of an education system based on equality?' Throughout this essay we will explain; why education is so important to the individual and to wider society; what the achievement gap is and its implications; how closing the achievement gap is contradictory to the dominant political ideology of neoliberalism. .
The importance of education cannot be understated, societies need a workforce that can compete on an international level with other nations for economic growth and productivity (Alcock, et.al, 2008:312). Of course, education is important to the individual members of a society too. People with more education tend to earn more, are less likely to be unemployed and tend to live healthier lives (Wilkinson, 2009:103). Across the political spectrum, all parties agree that continuously raising educational standards is a must (Chitty, 2014:1). However, raising educational standards is not the same as closing the achievement gap between those who attain the highest levels of education and those who attain the lowest in society.
To continue with an explanation of the achievement gap, a persistent disparity of educational attainment between certain groups. There are many forms of achievement gap, all of which are consistent and persistent between gender, between race and ethnicity and most significantly between social class (Parry and Francis, 2010).