Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ethnicity, gender, deprivation and low educational attainment in England: Political arithmetic, ideological stances and the deficient society

an article by Carl Parsons (University of Greenwich, UK) published in Education, Citizenship and Social Justice Volume 11 Number 2 (July 2016)


Attainment data on England’s school pupils are more extensive in coverage, detail, quantity, accessibility and of higher quality than monitoring statistics routinely available in other European countries. These data facilitate investigation of low attainment in England’s schools and its relationship to ethnicity, gender and poverty.

This article reviews longitudinal sample studies and extends this with simpler presentations of England’s national attainment statistics for education over 5 years up to 2014. The analyses show recurrent correlations of low attainment with specific ethnic minority groups, with gender and most strongly with low-income sections of society.

There is a strong case, from these data and other research, that these inequalities are rooted in social and economic factors outside the school, created and sustained by neoliberal economic practices and elitist structures. It is argued that reducing the proportion of children growing up in poverty will have a bigger impact on raising average attainment levels than focusing on in-school factors.

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