Professor Green: white working-class boys becoming more disengaged

Jan 7, 2018 by

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Rapper says people from backgrounds like his own need to be encouraged to think that education is for them

The award-winning rapper Professor Green, who grew up on a council estate in east London and left school without qualifications, has called for more support at an early age to help white working-class boys and their families engage with education.

Green, whose real name is Stephen Manderson, was speaking to the Guardian before the broadcast of his latest documentary, Working Class White Men, in which he explores the lives of six young white men from deprived backgrounds like his own.

One of the key issues Green investigates is educational failure among children from poor white communities – particularly boys, who get the poorest GCSE results and are the least likely to go to university. While almost 40% of young people overall now progress to higher education, the figure for white boys from the most disadvantaged backgrounds is just 10%.

Green spent six months following his subjects in different parts of the country in an attempt to understand the challenges they face, not just in education but also work, family life and the way they are regarded by the rest of society. He admitted to feeling depressed by what he found.

“People have become more and more disengaged,” he said. “People have fewer aspirations. From the areas I went to for the documentary, there seems to be a real lack of drive and belief in them being able to achieve anything, and there’s an acceptance of that.

“For middle-class families, your education is your life. For working-class families, in some instances school is just school. You are not expected to do very well. You are expected to get out and do a job and earn. People have to be encouraged from early on to engage with education and think it’s for them.”

Source: Professor Green: white working-class boys becoming more disengaged | Society | The Guardian

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