Some sociologists such as Douglas and Bernstein have argued that home background and cultural deprivation account for the differences in educational attainment. These sociologists will argue that the home background and cultural deprivation of the working classes accounts for their under achievement in education. However other sociologists such as Nell Keddie have argued that it is in school factors and not home background that accounts for differences in educational attainment. Working class under achievement is said to be based on their home background and also culturally deprived schools.
There are distinctive norms and values of different social classes, which can affect their educational performance. There are outside school factors which can explain working class underachievement these can be simple things in their home background such as a low finance in the home, the accommodation which can be small and overcrowded leading to a small amount of mental and physical space. Also the accommodation can be in need of repair and there may be a lack of pre-school and educational books and toys, which can all, affect the child’s learning and therefore educational attainment.
However the kind of environment that middle class children experience is a lot different and it can be this environment that lays down the foundation for high attainment in the educational system. The working class also suffer from having a culture that is deprived and so not as conducive to learning and achieving as the middle classes. J. W. B. Douglas believed that socialisation of the classes affected there educational achievement as the working classes were encouraged to have immediate gratification where as the middle classes were encouraged to have deferred gratification.
Bourdieu a French sociologist argued that the education system is biased towards the culture of dominant social classes as it devalues the working classes skills and knowledge. Bourdieu recognised that the educational attainment of social groups is directly related to the amount of cultural capital they have meaning that middle class students have higher success rates than working class students because the middle class culture is closer to the dominant culture.