Cultural deprivation is the theory that many working class are inadequately socialised and therefore lack the right culture needed for educational success. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that most of us start get the basic values, attitudes and skills that are needed through primary socialisation in the family. People need the cultural equipment which consists of self discipline, language and reasoning skills. A child’s chances to achieve the best in the education system are based on their social class background. Normally, children from middle class families outperform the working class children. This is happening as middle class parents have the financial resources to send their children to private schools.
Some statistics in the recent years show that the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSE’S A*-C for higher professionals is at 77%. There is a 44% attainment gap more than routine and semi-routine. There are many reasons for this such as working class children growing up have to bee labelled as, “culturally deprived”, they lack the cultural equipment and there is a lack of parental interest.
Through cultural deprivation, there are three main aspects that are intellectual development, language and attitudes and values. Firstly¸ intellectual development is of the thinking and reasoning skills for example these can be used for problem solving. Cultural deprivation theorists believe that working class lack the books, educational toys such as puzzles and activities that would improve the child’s intellectual development. Key thinker¸ J.W.B Douglas did a longitudinal study and found that working class students scored lower on tests of ability than middle class pupils. He believes the reason behind this is that working class parents support their child’s intellectual development a lot less than middle class. A criticism on Douglas’s is that his samples on his longitudinal study, he could have had samples that could have been lost easily. Two other sociologists, Basil Bernstein and Douglas Young found similar results with J.W.B Douglas. They found out that the way mothers think of toys for their children that will encourage thinking and reasoning skills that will influence them on their intellectual development.
The next aspect of cultural deprivation is language. Carl Bereiter and Siegfried Engelmann highlighted how important the use of language for educational achievement is. They found out that lower class families communicate through gestures, single words and disjointed phrases. Like them, Basil Bernstein, also found that many differences between working class and middle class and one example was the language that led to achievement. He distinguishes between two types of speech code, the restricted and elaborated code. As the middle class families used the form of the elaborated code this was a benefit for them as this type of code was used in books and used by teachers. Bernsteins’s view was that that the elaborated code was more of an effective tool to use for reasoning and analysis which was essential to success in education. Some critics had criticisms of Bernstein as hr describes working class speech as inadequate.
The last aspect of cultural deprivation is attitudes and values. Cultural deprivation theorists argue that many parents’ attitudes and values is a key link affecting educational achievement. Douglas also found out that working class parents placed less value and had less interest in their education. As a result, these types of parents did not visit schools that often instead of having meetings at their children’s schools with their teachers.
Another sociologist, Leon Feinstein had reached similar conclusions, which was that he found that working class parents’ lack of interest was the main reason for their child’s under achievement. Also, middle class children were more