Educational Meritocracy

#UKEdChat session 476 – We’re told that if we study hard, we can do anything. Your merit as a learner and as a person will put you on the path to success. Meritocracy is the basis and foundational notion of the modern state school system in many countries. Sounds fair, but is it? Does a level playing field exist, and should it? The recent US university admission scandal, and suggestions in the UK that private education should be abolished, has brought back to the fore the age-old debate about how the background of a pupil can greatly change their life-chances. So is the meritocracy dead, or still something schools should strive for?

In this #UKEdChat discussion we will explore the merits of the meritocracy, what school can do and are doing to provide fair opportunities, and what merits are valued in education.


  1. What is your understanding of educational meritocracy?
  2. Do you think your country’s educational system is a meritocracy? Why (not)?
  3. In your opinion, what ‘merits’ of pupils (a) are currently valued, and (b) should be valued in our school system?
  4. For the system as a whole, are schools places which address or compound inequality?
  5. Should individual schools strive to make a ‘level playing field’ and what does that mean and look like?
  6. Should positive discrimination be deployed in education? Does this create a fair system?
  7. What does ‘fair’ education look like in your own classroom?
  8. Is the teaching profession a meritocracy, or are other factors at play?

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About @ICTmagic 751 Articles
Martin Burrett is the editor of our popular UKEdMagazine, along with curating resources in the ICTMagic section, and free resources for teachers on UKEd.Directory

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