The Times is reporting claims from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in its latest five year report that white working-class boys have slipped farther down the educational ladder.
The report says the gap between poor and middle-class white boys is the biggest for any ethnic group, and suggests that it is not income, but cultural or other factors that are holding them back. It also points out that their GCSE results are poorer than every ethnic group.
The paper looks for insights from several sources with Sir Michael Wilshaw blaming the problem on “a culture which is often anti-school and anti-learning”.
The Sutton Trust suggests relevant issues include “low parental expectation and a lack of discipline and role models”.
Some figures are given including the fact that only 28.3% of poor white boys on free school meals got five GCSEs at A to C (including maths and English) while 59.1% of other white boys achieve the same (a gap of 31 points). By contrast, for Chinese children, 77% on free school meals hit the benchmark, 78% for the rest. For black and Asian children, the gap was 14 points.
The EHRC report also notes that Pakistani and Bangladeshi children have made particular progress over recent years and is reported as saying it is disappointing that although so many other sources of inequality had been identified and addressed, a new one had emerged.
It is quoted:
“Being poor now has a far more negative impact on the education of white children than it does for any other ethnic group,”
“Poor white boys suffer higher rates of exclusion from school and achieve the lowest academic results, making them less likely to enter higher education and therefore more likely to end up in lower-paid, insecure jobs…”
More at: Poor white boys are bottom of the class (subscription may be required)
UPDATE: Here is a video summary of the report from EHRC and below is the full report to view or download as a pdf:
Your reactions to this latest analysis suggesting significant issues with the attainment of white working-class boys in schools?
The figures above only show a snapshot now, but the suggestion is that the situation is also deteriorating – although it is not clear if that is in absolute terms, or relative to improving performance in other groups (the report from the EHRC – Is Britain Fairer? – is not publicly available at the time of writing this).
Please give us your insights, feedback and suggestions in the comments or via Twitter…
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