• Alan Walker
Part of the National Children’s Bureau series book series


I think if you can’t read and write they should ask you questions, because I am quite bright if they ask me questions, but I am just a dead loss when it comes to putting it down on paper. They should have more practical stuff instead of all this paper work.

This quotation, a clear cry from the heart, exposes one of the fundamental weaknesses of modern industrial societies. Educational systems, with the apparent aim of equal opportunity, become geared to providing for the most able, who through examination results and qualifications gain entry to employment or higher education: what Titmuss called ‘the spread of credentialism’.1 This inevitably creates a pool of educational ‘failures’. Although special educational provision may be made for the least able, ‘success’ in employment rests primarily on paper qualifications. The labour market and educational systems have come to reflect each other in a hierarchical way, the latter being organised to supply the former. Paradoxically the spread of universal education may have created as many barriers as it destroyed. The market value of education overshadows its other values. Entrance to employment above the unskilled level becomes more and more difficult as professional and other bureaucratic groupings demand more and more educational qualifications.


Labour Market Young People Labour Market Experience Wage Sector Modern Industrial Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Titmuss, R. M. (1974) Social Policy (London, Allen & Unwin) p.66.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Department of Education and Science (1978) Special Educational Needs (London, HMSO).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See, for example, Harris, A. I. et al. (1971) Handicapped and Impaired in Great Britain, vol. 1 (London, HMSO).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Reubens, B. G. (1970) The Hard-to-Employ: European Programmes (New York, Columbia University Press), p. 126.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Walker, A. (1976) The hardest job, Community Care, no. 139, pp. 20–2.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Inner London Education Authority (1975) Survey of Opportunities for School Leavers, p.1.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Department of Education and Science, Special Educational Needs, p.41; Rutter, M. et al. (1970) Education, Health and Behaviour (London, Longman);Google Scholar
  8. see also Department of Education and Science (1975) Integrating Handicapped Children. (London, HMSO) p.3.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    See, for example, Thorpe-Tracey, R. (ed.) (1976) Integrating the Disabled: Report of the Snowdon Working Party (Horsham, National Fund for Research into Crippling Diseases);Google Scholar
  10. Cope, C. and Anderson, E. (1977) Special Units in Ordinary Schools (London, Institute of Education). The concept of special education as separate full-time education in special schools and classes has been seriously questioned in recent years, and the policy of integrating handicapped children in ordinary schools has been embodied in Section 10 of the Education Act, 1976, though this is not yet enforced.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    See Craft, M. and Miles, L. (1967) Patterns of Care for the Subnormal (Oxford, Pergamon).Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    National Union of Teachers (1975) Educating the Handicapped (London, NUT) p.73; Department of Education and Science Special Educational Needs, p.43.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Department of Employment (1977) “Manpower planning: young people leaving school in Scotland and Great Britain”, Department of Employment Gazette. vol. 85, no.6, pp.600–62.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Kelsall, R. and Kelsall, H. (1971) Social Disadvantage and Educational Opportunity (New York, Holt, Rinehart & Winston) p.2.Google Scholar
  15. 17.
    Liebow, E. (1967) Tally’s Corner (London, Routledge & Kegan Paul).Google Scholar
  16. 18.
    Liebow, E. (1970) ‘No man can live with the terrible knowledge that he is not needed’, New York Times Magazine, 5 April; Marsden, D. (1975) Workless (Harmondsworth, Penguin) chaps 7–9;Google Scholar
  17. Sennet, R. and Cobb, J. (1977) The Hidden Injuries of Class (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    Walker, A. (1976) ‘Justice and disability’, in Jones. K, and Baldwin, S. (eds), The Yearbook of Social Policy in Britain 1975 (London, Routledge & Kegal Paul).Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Department of Employment (1980) Unemployment: summary analysis UK Table 104 Department of Employment Gazette, vol. 86, no. 8, p.978.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    Department of Employment (1974) Unqualified, Untrained and Unemployed: Report of a Working Party set up by the National Youth Employment Council (London, HMSO) p.19.Google Scholar
  21. 23.
    Kalachek, E. (1969) The Youth Labour Market (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan).Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Robertston, E. J. (1970) ‘Local labour markets and plant wage structures’ in Robinson, D. (ed.), Local Labour Markets and Wages Structures (London, Gower Press) p. 16.Google Scholar
  23. 26.
    Doerings, P. B. and Piore, M. J. (1971) Internal Labour Markets and Manpower Analysis (Lexington, D. C. Heath) chap. 8;Google Scholar
  24. Doerings, P. B. (1974) ‘Low pay, labour market dualism and industrial relations systems’, in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, (1974) Wage Determination (Paris, OECD) p. 16.Google Scholar
  25. 28.
    Bosanquet, N. (1973) Race and Employment in Britain (London, Runnymede Trust).Google Scholar
  26. 29.
    Jones, P. et al. (1975) All Their Future (Oxford, Department of Social and Administrative Studies, Oxford University) p.37.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    Ashton, D. N. and Field, D. (1976) Young Workers (London, Hutchinson).Google Scholar
  28. 31.
    Boudon, R. (1974) Education, Opportunity, and Social Inequality (New York, Wiley).Google Scholar
  29. 32.
    Lipset, S. M. and Bendix, R. (1959) Social Mobility in Industrial Society (London, Heinemann); Schorr, A. (1966) ‘The family cycle and income development’, Social Security Bulletin, February.Google Scholar
  30. 33.
    See, for example, Williams, W. M. (ed.) (1974) Occupational Choice (London, Allen & Unwin).Google Scholar
  31. 34.
    Beynon, H. and Blackburn, R. M. (1972) Perceptions of Work (Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  32. 35.
    Allen, S. (1975) ‘School leavers and the labour market’, London Educational Review, vol. 4, no. 2–3, p.65.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    Titmuss, R. M. (1968) Commitment to Welfare (London, Allen & Unwin) p. 159.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Children’s Bureau 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Walker
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations