Functionalism is the perspective based on the idea that all aspects of a society serve a function and are necessary for the survival of that society. Functionalism states that society is always trying to come to equilibrium. Trying to stabilise the structures that make up society like institutions. Institutions are structures that fulfil the need of society. Functionalists view education in terms of the “functions” it performs in society, the main purpose is transmitting society’s norms and values and so promoting value consensus to which will equip them for later life, these values would be passed from one generation to the next. For example a child will have to abide by school rules which will prepare them for when they step into the wider society, it will also give them the abilities required to be an all rounded individual. This will enable them to work with others for benefit of the society as a whole. The four key roles it should play are:
  * Transmission of cultural values
  * Social control
  * Economic training
  * Social selection
Emile Durkheim (1903) provides the basic frame work for functionalist view of education. He believed that for society to operate effectively each individual must have a sense of belonging each other, and become ‘social beings’ with loyalty and commitment to society as a whole.   These beliefs would be implemented by the education system by teaching children particular subjects that are perceived as more important and will give the children a sense of belonging. These core subjects are history, English and religious education. Predominantly history would enable the children to see the link between them and wider society.
Talcott Parsons (1961) developed Durkheim ideas and sees the school as ‘focal socialising agency’ in modern society, acting as a bridge between families and wider society. Within the family the child is judged by particularistic standards; rules that apply to that one particular child....