Ofsted chief says poor white communities lack ‘aspiration and drive’

The BBC is reporting that white working-class communities can lack the “aspiration and drive” of many migrant groups, England’s chief schools inspector has told a conference.

Amanda Spielman said a long-overdue debate was under way about why white working-class pupils fall behind.

Her comments follow criticism that Ofsted is unfair on poor white schools.

Last week heads complained that Ofsted inspections do not take enough account for the circumstances of a school.

Separately, the secondary heads union ASCL has hit out at school performance tables for unfairly stigmatising schools in white working-class areas.

In a speech to the Festival of Education at Wellington College in Berkshire, Ms Spielman said: “We are having to grapple with the unhappy fact that many local working class communities have felt the full brunt of economic dislocation in recent years, and, perhaps as a result, can lack the aspiration and drive seen in many migrant communities.”

But she said it was Ofsted’s job to “report without fear or favour” on school performance and that schools had to be graded on overall standards rather than effort.

“That is explicitly not the same as saying that teachers in these areas are putting in any less effort or that the leadership is worse.

“There is no doubt that these schools have a harder job to do than others.”

She told the festival the debate was not limited to England and the rest of the UK and its coastal towns. “It has also echoed throughout continental Europe and across the Atlantic.”

Read the full article Ofsted chief says poor white communities lack ‘aspiration and drive’

How do you feel about her comments? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. “not the same as saying that teachers in these areas are putting in any less effort or that the leadership is worse”

    But that won’t stop Ofsted attacking and destroying them.

  2. It’s not difficult to work out why this is. White children go to school only to hear their history and culture denigrated, to hear other cultures praised to the skies, to get no white role models but only non-whites like Mandela, Teresa, Luther King, Gandhi…of course they are totally demoralised and have no drive. They must feel rubbish, especially as they have had their family structure stolen too and denied the presence and authority of a father.

  3. Anonymous

    Clever working class white kids have to attend poor schools where the teachers have no understanding of the difficulties faced at home. The schools have no aspiration for the children. Why are Ofsted not encouraging schools to reach out to families in difficult circumstances instead of patronising them. These children don’t choose their circumstances and any decent school would try to find ways of helping instead of criticising. Let’s be outraged at the lack of equality in society rather than judging people whose circumstances are difficult and chaotic often through no fault of their own.

  4. And your evidence for these schools being ‘poor’ etc. is? Lying government/Ofsted propaganda? Or for your claim that these ‘clever children’ underperform?

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