Jack and the Education Beanstalk
Once upon a time, a boy called Jack lived with his single parent mum in a one bed roomed
apartment on the ground floor of Low Aspiration Estate.
Jack and his mother were very poor, as Jack's mum, despite working all hours, didn't earn enough
for fresh food, vitamins, quality meat cuts and even school materials for Jack to do his homework
with. All they had was an old cow, living just outside their kitchen window.
One day Jack's mum said, "We'll have to sell the Marx (the cow)." To which Jack replied, "Really?
Ok, well, I'll take her to the market."
Jack, though lovely, was not very bright, having been labelled at school by his teachers and peers as
a little bit thick, as two short planks. Bless! And following teacher expectations, Jack was always
placed in the lower sets, and never really thought of much beyond goofing around with the cow,
Marx. It never helped neither, that his mum was always too busy to go to Parents' Evenings or help
him with his homework.
So, reluctantly, Jack headed off to market, with the doomed cow, Marx. But along the way, he met
an old man, who introduced himself as Douglas. Douglas, who was really a sociological theorist,
said, "I'll give you six magic beans for the cow", because he knew that poor diets caused higher
levels of sickness, causing more absences, causing lower attainment, and he really wanted to help
"Six beans??!" said Jack. And even as mathematically challenged as Jack was, he knew that that
wasn't a fair exchange! "That's not much!" Marx meant the world to Jack.
"Ah, but these be magic beans," said Douglas, "you must plant them, and they'll provide more
So Jack said goodbye to Marx and took the beans. He went home and showed them to his mum. As
you can imagine, his mum went ballistic! She had never done very well herself at school, often
more interested in makeup and celebrity pin-ups, dreaming that one day her prince would turn up
and sweep her off her feet (and this was what she had told that Sharpe woman, when she came
asking questions), and so could not see the worth in the beans. Like mother, like son; both trapped
in a pessimistic, restricted and resigned acceptance of their fatalistic culture.
"Magic beans, my arse! They're no good!" And so the beans were thrown out of the window. Mum
went to work, that night being her late shift at The Self-fulfilling Prophecy Arms, and Jack went to
bed without any supper.
In the morning, Jack woke up and looked out of the window ............
See if you can complete the story, weaving in as many references to social class and
educational attainment as possible. Consider names of theorists, concepts, key words,
even any statistics if you can!
Use the basic template to guide you, but feel free to adapt, develop, alter any part of it.
Be creative, but be sociological!!