Higher proportion of ethnic minority pupils ‘key to London GCSE success’

The BBC is reporting new research that suggests the high success rate enjoyed by GCSE students in London is explained by the higher proportion of ethnic minority pupils in the capital…

The report says the capital’s diversity plays a key role in the “London effect” – a term used to describe the high levels of success among its pupils.

It says London has a low rate of the lowest performing group: white British.

The Bristol University study assessed GCSE data from 2013 for all pupils in state secondary schools in England.

Researchers at the university’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) measured each student’s GCSE points score across their eight best subjects, counting an A* as being worth eight points, an A as seven, and so on, to one point for a G.

They also analysed the percentage of people scoring five or more A* to C grades at GCSE.

Students’ results were measured against their prior attainment in Key Stage 2 tests taken at the end of primary school.

The results indicated that pupils in London’s state-funded schools scored around eight GCSE grade points higher than those in the rest of the country…

However, once children’s ethnic background was factored in, the London effect in pupil progress was found to disappear, the report concludes.

White British pupils tend to achieve the lowest GCSE scores against their attainment at the end of primary school, compared with those from ethnic minority backgrounds, previous CMPO research has found.

This group also makes up just over a third (36%) of Year 11 (15- and 16-year-olds) in London, while they make up around 84% of this school year group in the rest of England.

“London simply has a lot higher fraction of high-performing groups and a lot lower fraction of low-performing groups, principally White British pupils,” the study says.

It says “being a recent immigrant or being of non-White British ethnicity has a very substantial positive effect on progress through school” as the children of immigrants typically have “high aspirations and ambitions, and place greater hopes in the education system than the locals do.”

Researchers also assessed the impact of children of recent immigrants, rather than looking at ethnicity, and suggest evidence shows that this also plays a part in the London effect.

In Newcastle, around 12% of the population was born abroad and arrived in the UK before 2000, while in London 35% of the population did so. Comparing these two cities, there is a difference of around 15 GCSE grade points in pupil progress, with London ahead.

Prof Simon Burgess, who carried out the research, said: “We know that ethnic minority pupils score more highly in GCSEs relative to their prior attainment than white British pupils.

“London simply has a lot more of these high-achieving pupils and so has a higher average GCSE score than the rest of the country. My interpretation of these results leads to a focus on pupil aspiration, ambition and engagement.

“There is nothing inherently different in the ability of pupils from different ethnic backgrounds, but the children of relatively recent immigrants typically have greater hopes and expectations of education, and are, on average, more likely to be engaged with their school work…

More at: Diversity ‘key to London GCSE success’

 

Fascinating and apparently yet another example of achievement at school being closely linked to motivation to learn – something that seems to be at root of so many of the education success stories we read about. That said, was there not also a lot more funding per pupil in the capital that impacted on this particular situation? Please tell us what you make of this study in the comments or via Twitter…

 

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Comments

  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove The report blames the low aspirations of white British pupils – this needs to be tackled by both school AND home

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Could those who do relatively well at GCSE be arriving with relatively low scores at KS2 making their progress seem marked?

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Report also fails to mention the huge financial investment in London’s schools which outweighs investment elsewhere

  4. JoetheBaron

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Totally agree. Our migrant children are fantastic though. They’re a real pleasure to teach

  5. andylutwyche

    JoetheBaron SchoolsImprove Absolutely – they appreciate their education & are prepared to put in the work required. As you say: a pleasure

  6. andylutwyche

    “Gwenelope: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Or no KS2 data at all.” Exactly! Hate to say it, but then the “target” can be as low as you like

  7. andylutwyche

    “Gwenelope: andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Or no KS2 data at all.” Exactly! Hate to say it, but then the “target” can be as low as you like

  8. h_emoney

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove The report is spot on but how can we change this. I spoke to SLT about sharing SOW, resources with parents…

  9. andylutwyche

    h_emoney SchoolsImprove Free sessions to give parents access what children access at school. Lack of confidence in parents/carers an issue

  10. andylutwyche

    h_emoney SchoolsImprove Free sessions to give parents access what children access at school. Lack of confidence in parents/carers an issue

  11. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove Quite – it’s head in the sand stuff from politicians, media and now people write reports from universities

  12. SCHOOLSNE

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove indeed, we’re told repeatedly ‘it’s not about the money’ but SLs told us how imp it was to creating capacity.

  13. SCHOOLSNE

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove indeed, we’re told repeatedly ‘it’s not about the money’ but SLs told us how imp it was to creating capacity.

  14. SCHOOLSNE

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove other areas constantly judged against London but not offered same advantage – to argue = ‘making excuses!’

  15. paulsnorman

    SchoolsImprove the key isn’t ethnicity, religion, etc it is cultural value placed on education. Many minority groups place high value.

  16. paulsnorman

    SchoolsImprove the key isn’t ethnicity, religion, etc it is cultural value placed on education. Many minority groups place high value.

  17. paulsnorman

    SchoolsImprove in many working class WBR areas, schooling didn’t prevent mass deconstruction of employment opportunities – so why bother?

  18. paulsnorman

    SchoolsImprove if national economic success spread into areas outside London, it might help regenerate attitudes to education.

  19. HughdjNicklin

    SchoolsImprove So you disproportionately finance London Schs, & produce a horde which loots designer trainers. #GreatEducationHoax

  20. cia262

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Have white, working class children been the focus of improvement plans that BME children had?

  21. cia262

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove Have white, working class children been the focus of improvement plans that BME children had?

  22. Janet2

    @cia262 andylutwyche SchoolsImprove The London Challenge, which has been credited with turning round London schools, did so irrespective of the racial mix of the classroom.  That said, London schools have a high proportion of BME children so it’s difficult to untangle how much London’s success is because of the Challenge and how much is because London schools have a large proportion of aspirational BME children.  And there has been criticism that white, working class children, particularly boys, are feeling excluded.

  23. alwiello

    SchoolsImprove I’d say it was the higher proportion of ethnic minority parents & how much THEY value education that was the difference.

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