Schools must focus on struggling white working-class pupils, says UK charity

Nov 11, 2016 by

Study finds poorer white children’s attainment has stayed stubbornly low despite improvements among other groups

Schools are being urged to focus improvement efforts on struggling white working-class pupils who get the worst GCSE results of all the main ethnic groups, amid growing concern about stark disparities in attainment.

A study by the Sutton Trust education charity found that disadvantaged pupils from Chinese backgrounds were almost three times as likely to get the benchmark five good GCSEs as their white working-class peers.

While poverty continues to play a major role in educational outcomes, attainment among pupils from Bangladeshi, black African and Chinese backgrounds who are on free school meals (FSM) has improved dramatically in the past decade.

Among poorer white children, meanwhile, just a quarter of boys (24%) and a third of girls (32%) achieve the benchmark of five good GCSEs, leading to calls for schools to target those pupils at risk of falling behind.

Attainment at GCSE among disadvantaged pupils from Bangladeshi, black African and Chinese pupils has improved by more than 20 percentage points since 2006, while the national average has improved by 13.5 percentage points. Performance among white working-class children over the same period has remained stubbornly low.

“Several explanations have been proposed for this shift,” says the report. “The popularity of private tutors among ethnic groups and the latter’s concentration in large urban areas such as London (where average results have improved in recent years, with some suggesting that ethnic minorities have driven this progress), the impact of supplementary schools, and differing levels of parental aspiration, among others.”

Source: Schools must focus on struggling white working-class pupils, says UK charity | Education | The Guardian

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.