Schools in rich areas failing poor pupils (who do better in poor areas)

(20 Posts)
muminlondon Sun 28-Apr-13 00:53:17

I found this article frustrating because, although the poverty gap should be addressed, introducing yet more targets and threatening schools with Ofsted downgrades or closure, etc. seems pointlessly demoralising - especially with no reference at all to prior attainment, particular SEN, etc. And the biggest problem is not the 10 kids in a middle class school on FSM but the deprived areas where three generations have been out of work and sponsored academies have also been judged inadequate for thousands of children. I found an evaluation of the City Challenge scheme which observed that after 2008

'it was unfortunate that the overall objective of raising attainment for disadvantaged children was translated into a focus on narrowing/closing attainment gaps, because gaps do not necessarily reflect the level of attainment of the disadvantaged pupils.'

And now the DfE has published another study which questions whether the pupil premium will work and calls for more evidence. I disagree with this Spectator blog that extra spending doesn't work because it clearly worked for London when it was targeted at whole-school improvement in deprived areas in the City Challenge. But I can't see what middle class schools are meant to do with the money except give the children a label they perhaps don't need and employ more people to crunch data.

AcrylicPlexiglass Fri 26-Apr-13 21:16:27

Excellent. I am pleased that schools will be judged on how they serve their most disadvantaged pupils as well as their overall results.

PatPig Fri 26-Apr-13 20:54:03

Good point. In rural areas, where absolute FSM numbers will be lower, FSM kids are proportionally far more likely to be from Traveller communities. Traveller communities perform incredibly badly at school.

So that's one difference.

And FSM kids in rural areas are more likely to be 'underclass', i.e. second generation white unemployed, whereas in urban areas, they might 'fresh off the boat' ambitious immigrants.

purpleroses Fri 26-Apr-13 19:53:08

It's a lousy study.

They're just comparing kids on free school meals with kids not on free school meals.

In relatively deprived areas the kids not on free school meals are, on average, also fairly poor and from more working class backgrounds. So the "attainment gap" between them and the ones on free school meals is unsurprisingly not large.

In the well-off areas the kids not on free school meals are from, on average, very different backgrounds to the ones on free school meals - hence the larger gap in attainment.

What's shocking is that government ministers appear not to have realised this flaw in the statistics they're looking at and are berating the successful schools as a result (whose free school meals kids may be doing great - compared with other free school meal kids elsewhere - just not as well as the really rich ones who also attend the schools in well off areas)

LittleFrieda Fri 26-Apr-13 12:31:37

YoniMaroney - I don't know what a chav is, not really, it's not a term I use. I used those christian names to illustrate white, working-class Britishness. And of course immigrants are diverse but they are still a self selecting group. Do you have a Jayden? wink

And by the way, I'm first a first-generation Brit myself.

SacreBlue Wed 24-Apr-13 21:10:23

Red herring people, bring it back.

YoniMaroney Wed 24-Apr-13 14:30:42

"IMmigrants are an entrepreneurial self-selecting group."

No, 'immigrants' are not a single group.

There are large variations between different immigrant groups. Chinese and Indian immigrants do very well. Indians overall do much better than Bangladeshis and Pakistanis.

'It always makes me laugh (up my sleeve) when people sniff at not wanting Kayden and Jayden to go to school with immigrants.'

Ah, so it's ok to be disparaging about white 'chavs', but not about 'immigrants'.

MTSgroupie Wed 24-Apr-13 10:55:14

I've known kids that went into Year R with no English and finished the year speaking fluent English albeit with a Brummie accent smile

It doesn't take kids long to be fluent.

MorrisZapp Wed 24-Apr-13 10:44:43

Surely recent immigrant kids would be held back by language differences though? How long would a Polish speaking kid take to be fluent in English? Or do they arrive with some language skills?

LittleFrieda Wed 24-Apr-13 10:39:35

IMmigrants are an entrepreneurial self-selecting group. It always makes me laugh (up my sleeve) when people sniff at not wanting Kayden and Jayden to go to school with immigrants.

SacreBlue Wed 24-Apr-13 09:55:44

I think that there are links to the generational paralysis though. Those 'native poor' may have grown up in families where education was not a priority, or rather not the, apparently, best option. Typically here in NI those areas where work was plentiful such as the shipyards, leaving school for work as early as possible was the done thing, and rather pragmatic.

When those safe jobs dried up, usually the industry declining, the attitude that education was not really worthwhile was already entrenched. Emigrating families may break out of that attitude because of the already seismic shift of leaving a country - so 'poor' immigrants may be better placed to change that attitude and see the benefit of both basic education and further education.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 09:00:49

*they don't work in deprived school - they work in schools located in very deprived areas.

tiggytape Wed 24-Apr-13 08:59:56

I think it can also be to do with the expectations of the school (which might be a bad way of phrasing it but I mean the way the schools are geared up to suit the intake they have)
I have teacher friends who work in very deprived schools who, when talking about the curriculum or homework or other aspects of school life will say 'that doesn't really work for our intake' or 'we wouldn't be able to do that at our school'

It isn't that they have low expectations of poorer pupils - quite the opposite.
Instead, they approach every aspect of schooling from a particular point of view eg that students won't necessarily have computer access at home or won't have someone on hand to help with complicated homework tasks and might not have parents who can take them to see things they've covered in class during holiday time.
The schools take account of the fact that parents may be very short of both time and money and plan lessons, homework, after school help etc with that in mind.

Whereas a poorer child in a school that assumes one parents is a SAHM, all parents have fancy software installed on home computers and all parents will be willing / able to take a child up to London to see the museums that they've talked about in class might slip through the net more at that particular school.

HilaryM Wed 24-Apr-13 07:41:18

Yes that is an interesting viewpoint. I know that in Glasgow the schools where asylum seekers were placed started to get much better results - as often children were children of displaced middle classes from Kosovo, Somalia etc.

MTSgroupie Tue 23-Apr-13 23:30:43

There is another way of looking at it.

A few years ago the London Evening Standard did an article about education in London East End. A report concluded that poor children from newly arrived Asian families tended to do better academically then the indigenous poor. In some cases they even did better than children in neighboring 'posh' catchments. The poor in rich areas on the other hand tend to be the indigenous poor.

I wonder if the performance figures in poor areas are being boosted by these immigrant children. I for one would be interested in seeing a study that compared removed the immigrant variable


In poor areas a

happygardening Tue 23-Apr-13 14:04:12

Well were frighteningly middle class and not poor and my DS1 with significant SEN but IQ putting him in the top 5% was entered into the lower level GCSE paper and only moved up into a different class for maths where there was an expectation of a C rather than an E/U because according to the maths teacher we were "insisting that he passed maths GCSE". We're articulate, educated and not easily intimidated and we had to jump up and down big time to get the school to raise its game so God know how inarticulate uneducated easily intimidated parents get anything. Oh and by the way two months later he passed it and is now entered in foe the higher paper this summer and predicted at least a B. We are in the counties top performing school (as the head never stops telling us) in the leafy picturesque rural Shires, the vast majority of pupils come from other unbelievably middle class, white and affluent homes.

HilaryM Tue 23-Apr-13 13:19:37

I like the fact that schools who rely on their demographic for their good results and reputation might be called up on this in the future.

SacreBlue Tue 23-Apr-13 12:00:29

I was really surprised to find out that some schools enter kids at a lower lever GCSE, one that means the top mark they can hope for is a C. I felt this, in a similar way to primary schools not allowing children to even try the 11+, was disregarding a child's ability from the get go.

Having studied intergenerational educational attainment, quite often the parents unwillingness or inability to support their children's education was a major factor. One example in a primary setting was the attempt to run a homework club that had to be abandoned as the parents volunteering did not have the literacy and numeracy levels needed to help the children.

Just as the attitude towards education in families can impact on performance in school the opposite can happen - where a family of means may be affected by the collective apathy towards education in a school - the difference however is that the family of means can still educate at home as a supplement, could perhaps afford a tutor or to move schools. At the very least if the parents have a good standard of education themselves they are better able to raise the issue at school, or at LA level.

YoniMaroney Tue 23-Apr-13 11:46:41

Well no surprise at all.

However the schools in poor areas likewise fail rich pupils.

The schools in poor areas will concentrate on passing Maths and English GCSE, because if you pass those then you just need to add a vocational qualification or two, which are comparatively far, far easier, to tick the '5 A*-C at GCSE including Maths + English' box.

Schools are understandably focused on the needs of the bulk of their students.

The difference is that a middle class child who doesn't do Ebacc, doesn't go on to do academic A Levels, gets a mediocre set of GCSE passes and so on, won't show up in the same way as a deprived child who goes to a school where they aren't focused on the needs of children who will struggle to scrape two Cs at GCSE and an NVQ in Sports and Applied Science.

Basically a lot of comprehensive schools are secondary moderns in all but name.

HilaryM Tue 23-Apr-13 11:16:18

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