Schools and their ethnic makeup

(47 Posts)
KateShrub Sat 09-Mar-13 18:08:21

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on this issue.

There are 22,000 children at senior schools in the London Borough of Redbridge.

The ethnic makeup of these children is:

White British 21.6%
Indian 15.9%
Pakistani 14.7%
Other Asian 8.5%
African 8.2%
Bangladeshi 8.1%
Other White 6.2%
Caribbean 4.5%
Other Mixed 2.1%
Mixed White/Caribbean 2.0%
Other Black 1.6%
Other 1.6%
Mixed White/Asian 1.5%
Unclassified 1.3%
Mixed White/African 0.7%
Chinese 0.6%
Irish 0.5%
Gypsy/Roma 0.1%
Irish Traveller 0

This is not replicated across the borough.

The borough for instance has 3 Catholic schools.

These are

Trinity, Woodford Green (mixed), which is approx 75% white, 4% Asian
Palmer, Seven Kings (Ilford) (mixed), approx 25% white, 30% Asian
Ilford Ursuline High, Ilford (girls), approx 21% white, 36% Asian

There is also a Jewish school, King Solomon which is around 80% white.

The obvious observation is that demographic changes have changed Ilford from an almost entirely white area a few decades ago to an area with a minority white population now, and hence demand for Catholic education has evaporated, and obviously a substantial proportion of the intake is not Catholic.

In leafy Woodford Green however, there is obviously still a substantial white Catholic population.

Performance-wise ALL of the borough's schools perform creditably:

The schools ranked by number of white British children are:

Trinity: 63%
King Solomon: 62%
Woodbridge High: 44%
Wanstead High: 35%
Caterham High: 34%
Forest Academy: 27%
Oaks Park High: 21%

The schools in reverse order of pass rate are:

Forest Academy
King Solomon
Wanstead High
Oaks Park

In other words the whitest schools perform worst.

You might assume that being a speaker of English as a second language would be a handicap, but in fact Loxford School, where 45% of children are of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background (both groups have lower than average GCSE pass rates), and fully 78% of children are ESL speakers, children made much better progress than at all of the whitest schools except Trinity. FSM figures for Loxford are also high, with a 6-year FSM eligiblity of 51%, which is by a distance the highest in the borough.

The borough has two 'super-selective' grammar schools. Woodford County High is the girls school, and like Trinity (63% white British) and Woodbridge High (44% white British) is in Woodford (actually Trinity and Woodford County High are both in the relatively posher Woodford Green, whereas Woodbridge is in Woodford).

So you would expect somewhere 40-60% white British, but nope. Just 6%.

In fact the school has 24% Indian, 16% Pakistani, 8% Bangladeshi, and 31% Other Asian, all dwarfing the numbers of White British.

The boys grammar school is a couple of miles down the road in Barkingside has similar stats, 4% white British, 28% Indian, 19% Pakistani, 11% Bangladeshi, 26% Asian.

The girls school has 69% EFL speakers, and the boys 38%.

The absence of white children at the grammar schools is so stark that you have to wonder whether white parents are avoiding it. It seems unlikely that there is a cultural opposition to selection among white British parents, since selective schools in areas with negligible ethnic minority populations are invariably heavily subscribed by white parents.

According to performance statistics, while Indian children are more likely to reach high NC Levels and achieve good GCSE pass rates than white British children, white British children do better than Bangladeshi and Pakistani children, yet even though there are a similar number of white British compared to the total of Pakistani and Bangladeshi children, the latter are 7 times more numerous at the boys' grammar and four times more numerous at the girls' grammar.

I can only assume that white parents do not want to go to a school that is predominantly Asian. But why? And how did it get this way?

This photo from 1975 shows a school that appears to have been 95%+ white:

And why more generally do white British children in Redbridge perform so poorly, worse than non-English speaking children living in poverty?

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 18:21:27

Maybe the children from these families have a better work ethic and try harder?

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sat 09-Mar-13 18:23:46

What are the "missing" ethnicities from Palmer and Ursuline? Or is there a typo in the numbers?

BackforGood Sat 09-Mar-13 18:24:17

Why on earth would you "assume that being bilingual was a handicap" ??? confused

ScottyDoc Sat 09-Mar-13 18:29:22

I'll get flamed for this but in my opinion it's three things: children from ethnic/disadvantaged backgrounds being prioritised over white children, the strong work ethic that many of these ethnic minority parents instill in their children, and the absolute and appalling lack of discipline that many (not all) English children receive at home. I say this as an English person who grew up with liberal parenting, from what I have seen in the vast vast majority of friends, family and acquaintances. Lots of praise and buying the latest gadgets, but not enough structure, boundaries or effective discipline. I know you mention 'white' children in your OP but I'm specifically talking about English/British kids. My dh is a teacher and has taught in schools with different ethnic makeups, and is the first to say ( particularly around parents evenings) how these kids are severely lacking in respect for their elders and motivation to do their work. That's all really.

KateShrub Sat 09-Mar-13 18:34:46

That may be true Portofino.

I know that there has been official concern expressed in the past about the performance of Bangladeshi and Pakistani children.

I wonder however having successfully reached/motivated these children and got them to work hard and achieve, why the white British are not following suit.

White British is far more heterogenous than Pakistani of course, as I understand it the majority of British Pakistanis come from a very small area of Pakistan, and mostly share a common religion, culture and so on, whereas 'white British' is actually very diverse in terms of aspirations and cultural background.

Considered across the country as a whole 'white British' does well, but this does cover everything from leafy Hertfordshire to inner city Liverpool, and within this collage there will be huge variations in terms of levels of achievement. I'm not sure however if this means that underperforming white subcultures get neglected, or if they have been targeted but are harder to reach.

I guess over the course of 11 years of education you can teach one group of children to speak English from scratch and then pass 5+ GCSE, providing there's a willingness and environment in which to learn. But if you have a cohort of children who do speak English, but ain't bovvered, so to speak, then after 11 years they will finish school with nothing.

FellNel Sat 09-Mar-13 18:36:38

Middle class 'White Flight'?

To answer this you need to know the socio-economic status of the white children in question. It may be that most the middle class white families have up and left those areas, and the ones that are left are largely classed as disadvantaged, from low socio-economic backgrounds are are unlikely to make it to grammar school for that reason. Although some of the Asian and other non-white children may be similarly socio-economically disadvantaged, they often have parents who are far more driven where educational aspiration for their children is concerned.

FellNel Sat 09-Mar-13 18:37:51

Sorry not just grammar school, but are performing worse across the board

KateShrub Sat 09-Mar-13 18:44:41

BackforGood: as I understand it many of these children start school with poor English skills. This seems like a handicap to me.

They will be EFL speakers if both parents are not native speakers, and hence they have grown up speaking a language other than English at home. You can be bilingual but not an EFL speaker.

LadyIsabellaWrotham no typo, I highlighted Asian children because statistically very few of these will be Catholics (however the admissions criteria for the two Ilford schools give priority to those practising another religion above those with n o religion) - most Catholics in the UK are white. There are also around 10% black Caribbean children at these two schools, plus around 20% black African/other (I assume these are Catholics or at Christians). That 30% black likely reflects the Ilford catchment which would be more diverse than Trinity @ Woodford Green, which has only around 10% black.

KateShrub Sat 09-Mar-13 19:14:52

FellNel, while I have no doubt there has been substantial 'white flight' from Redbridge, it retains appeal for white middle class parents with good Tube connections to the City and some pleasant leafy areas (Wanstead up to Woodford).

Trinity is the obvious white middle class school, around 75% white, 51% High Attainers entering the school, only 4% Low Attainers, plus FSM % are the lowest (excluding the grammar schools) in the borough.

So Trinity is a privileged refuge for the white middle class. And it does get good results. But, Woodford County High, which is just down the road, does even better. Looking at the comparative stats a relatively high (for a grammar school) proportion of Woodford County High girls entered with only Level 4 - 12%. So it's reasonable to assume that many of the children at Trinity could have gone to Woodford County High instead, but their parents preferred a school that essentially selects white middle class children to one that selects Asian middle class children.

It's worth mentioning also that Trinity has a catchment that extends out into leafier parts of Essex - priority is given to Woodford Green, then Chingford, then Clayhall, Loughton, Waltham Abbey, then South Woodford, Hainault, Christ The King, Wanstead. However, with the exception of Waltham Abbey, all of these areas would be within the Redbridge grammar school area, so most girls could choose either school, although Trinity would hold the advantage for siblings, since they could both be sure of going to the same school (of course for girl/boy siblings, the grammar route would send them to Ilford, which is less convenient still).

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 19:18:49

Do you work for UKIP or something? My dd's school is close to NATO headquarters and the school has a real mix of nationalities/ethnic groups. I don't spend time stressing over it though.

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 19:23:11

I would be concentrating more on ensuring all schools are fit for purpose. The question should not be "where are all the white children?" More "what do we need to do to ensure that our local education system meets the needs of the incumbent population?"

TheFallenNinja Sat 09-Mar-13 19:35:41

I love the content and all the stats and percentages, assumptions and stuff.

You could have just said that you think that white people are racist and failure, it would have saved me reading all the guff you dressed it up in.

KateShrub Sat 09-Mar-13 19:41:47

Portofino: if only white children are performing badly, then they need to be specifically targeted, no?

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 20:44:15

Where did it say they were performing badly? Like you said it could be racist parents preferring to put their children elsewhere. Or anything really. The stats don't really show anything. How do the percentages in schools reflect the local demographic for example.

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 20:48:03

To me this looks like racist shite disguised as %. A la Daily Fail.

Portofino Sat 09-Mar-13 20:58:05

I am sure that there are EFL issues at primary schools in many boroughs. This is something that needs addressing. However your thread seems to be about attendance and attainment at sought after Secondaries. I know nothing about it really but it seems to me that, a) those EFL kids learn the language, b) they do well at school, c) there are many parents who continue to see race as an issue.

Kenlee Sun 10-Mar-13 07:13:12

Im a BBC ..I went to an all white comprehensive and I got excellent results. I even got an A for my O`level English. Where some of my friends failed even to get a C. Its not what colour you are or if your are rich or not. Its about knowing as a child if you want to get out of working in a Chip shop. You get educated and hopefully get a good job. That pays well enough so you can live in the posh areas away from the poverty.

A lot of people will flame on this post. It is a reality that non ` British white ` children aspire too. Its more attitude than system failure.

By the way I like UKIP especially Nigel Farage he.brightens up the European Parliament debates.

seeker Sun 10-Mar-13 07:26:26

My sil and bil and their circle of white british friends won't even consider their incredibly high achieving local school because it is largely non white. It is a very odd mind set- if they use state schools they send their children further to a less high achieving school. Or they send them to a so-so local private school. Or they send them on a long commute to a not so local fantastic private school. It's only that last school that has better results than their nearest, automatically rejected state school.

I'm sure I've read research that talks about the children of immigrants tending to be high achieving, regardless of country of origin or ethnicity, though. Something about the sort of people who are prepared to uproot themselves and move across the world to find a better life being the sort of people who are likely to do well, and want the best for their children. So they start off with the advantage of involved, supportive parents.

Kenlee Sun 10-Mar-13 07:41:30

Seeker i wouldn't call it supportive. It was more punishment for not getting an A. If you do not ace the report card you are not trying hard enough. Hence working in a kitchen till dusk. Scrubbing the gas stoves and the extractor hood. Im sure the south Asians will also have their own type of punishment for not getting A`s.

So yes second generation immigrants will do better. This leaves the third generation who are more in alignment with the white population as most likely the family business had been sold. The money is usually earned from a proffesion.

Thus the third generation has no impetus to acheive as they already live in the posh end of town.

Funny thing is there is no stats for these kids.

seeker Sun 10-Mar-13 08:02:10

I was using "supportive" in its broadest sense!

Kenlee Sun 10-Mar-13 08:14:44

ok i understand...

Missmodular Sun 10-Mar-13 08:23:12

Kate I think the figures you use don't take into account the relatively large numbers of private schools in the area - off the top of my head I can think of the Forest School, St Aubyns and Bancrofts in Woodford Green alone but I'm fairly sure there are more. I suspect the inclusion of these may produce a clearer picture of what's going on in Redbridge, esp regarding the overall performance of white British kids in the area.

What with the high numbers of private schools AND two super selective grammars, plus the faith schools mentioned, all siphoning off huge chunks of the demographic, I'm not sure how 'comprehensive' the comps in Redbridge actually are.hmm

muminlondon Sun 10-Mar-13 10:09:01

It's the national picture that pupils of any Asian background outperform white British.

For those on free school meals, Bangladeshi girls are 22.2% ahead of white British girls at GCSE and Bangladeshi boys are 29.3% ahead. For the rest, white British are still outperformed by Irish, Indian and Bangladeshi, and Chinese beat everyone. So that explains why there are fewer white British pupils in grammar schools.

I'd suggest this is to do with aspiration and parenting. Speaking at least one foreign language from birth must lead to higher cognitive development. There may be language barriers initially but the attainment gap for all those whose first language is other than English has closed to 3% and 0.2% for Ebacc (and the remits be big variations between different groups).

I agree that politicians to concentrate on the poorest regions, mostly northern and coastal towns - there is a 30% gap at GCSE between most deprived areas (e.g. places like Clacton, Hull, Knowsley) and least deprived. Academy chains alone don't seem to be making any breakthrough - less likely to collaborate with other schools in the area and external school improvement teams.

muminlondon Sun 10-Mar-13 10:11:46

'and there must be big variations between different groups' -sorry, predictive text.

LaFataTurchina Sun 10-Mar-13 10:25:43

Plus, why would you assume non-white people aren't practicing Catholics?

DP went to the linked boys school of Ilford Ursaline school and although most students weren't white, they are mainly Catholic or another Christian denomination.
On a Sunday his parents' parish church in East London is always packed with people - mainly Filipino, Indian, Polish and Italian (so white 'others').

DP's parents would probably be classified as Asian/Middle Class but having met a lot of his old school friends who's parents were poorer they still achieved good results - because their parents came from countries where there was no safety net and they wanted their children to make the most of all the opportunities England afforded them.

It seems like there's almost an expectation that students who aren't White British/ are bilingual shouldn't do as well as others.

SanityClause Sun 10-Mar-13 10:40:47

This is like a "what about the menz" argument in FWR.

White British people are advantaged over other ethnic groups. They have the opportunity to make the most of that advantage, surely?

I will point out, though, that at the super selective schools near me, (so only anecdotal evidence, I'm afraid) the Asian and Black children (who are well represented at the school) appear to be the children of professional people.

Perhaps we should look less at statistics of ethnicity and more at socio-economic statistics?

mumzy Sun 10-Mar-13 18:26:50

Anecdotally whenever I go somewhere educational in London ie. museums, V&A, British library, art galleries the school groups also there either tend to be all from ethnic minorities or white with maybe one or two brown/black dcs. Inevitably the former are from inner city schools and the latter Home Counties schools or judging by their blazers from private schools.

TheSeatbeltSignIsOn Sun 10-Mar-13 20:46:06

Children from many EAL backgrounds will, by secondary by bilingual, trilingual or multilingual. That is a huge educational advantage as it gives students a greater understanding of how language actually works.
Even if they have started Reception with little English they will catch up very quickly.

camilamoran Mon 11-Mar-13 16:45:58

I would guess that most people wouldn't make their first choice a school where they are a small ethnic minority. Therefore if one ethnic group becomes larger at a school, there will eventually be a tipping point where it becomes ethnically homogeneous.

nailak Mon 11-Mar-13 17:08:11

firstly catholics are not all white confused the stats you give are concerning ethnicity not religion

secondly the outcomes for those with EAL are better at age 11 then those who can only speak English

thirdly if schools see white British as underperforming then they will target that group.

I am a governor in a nursery and childrens centre in Newham and we found that white families were not accessing our centre so we targeted them, there is a group for only white British families and so on.

You also failed to mention the Private schools in the area nearing WCHS and Trinity, FOrest and Bancrofts? Also Chigwell which is near enough redbridge, maybe it is a social issue, and those White British who can afford it send their kids there? As well as the best performing white children being those with the greatest finances and ability to access private education? Those boys who are clever enough would rather go to private schools and get scholarships than go to ICHS, as the standard is better, where as the standard in WCHS is significantly higher than ICHS so parents would rather send girls there, as it is cheaper when you count kit etc?

Tasmania Mon 11-Mar-13 17:17:57

OP - as a non-native English speaker, I can assure you that when I first arrived in the UK at uni, my command of English was better than most British students at my very MC university. An English lecturer/tutor actually admitted that English teaching is better abroad or in ESL classes over here - simply because in "normal" English lessons, people presume that the kids already speak the language, so why bother with the details?

Also, being white does not equal being middle class. Immigrants also often have a lot of ambition for their children. Have you not watched that program a few weeks ago about the very white school in Middle England (sorry, forgot where it was) versus the one in inner city London - and where in the latter, students had way more aspiration, etc. than in the former?

cory Mon 11-Mar-13 20:54:06

Also, being white does not equal being monolingual or even being a native speaker of English.

And not being white does not equal not being a native speaker of English.

Ds' friend is black and a native English speaker.

Ds is white and bilingual.

Her friend in junior school was also white but arrived at school with practically no English.

Talkinpeace Mon 11-Mar-13 21:29:40

And why more generally do white British children in Redbridge perform so poorly, worse than non-English speaking children living in poverty?

That one is easy.
Across the country, pockets of poor English extraction whites always do worst - because they are the ones without the gumption to up sticks and move to new areas and seek jobs.

Non English speaking immigrant kids are disadvantaged until they get basic language skills, but the drive that got they and their parents to this country makes them strive to succeed, and their parents do not want them to become refugees so there is a mahoosive work ethic.

Turnover of immigrant kids is also high : If the parents arrive in the UK when the kid is 4, many of them will no longer be living in manky parts of the country by the time the child is 18. Some will, but many will not.
The poor whites among whom they have landed WILL still be there in 20 years.

KateShrub Tue 12-Mar-13 02:36:42

I wonder why there is so little social mobility among poor white British now. My maternal grandparents lived in Redbridge and were poor. Their children went to grammar school and RG universities and their grandchildren are definitely now middle class.

Of course this didn't happen to all poor whites, but it did happen to huge numbers, but you sense that it doesn't happen much any more.

Plenty of work near Redbridge of course - no need to up sticks.

ripsishere Tue 12-Mar-13 02:46:48

Really? plenty of work? tell that to four of my sister's children who are unemployed although willing to do anything

KateShrub Tue 12-Mar-13 03:21:19

Well you are unlikely to find better employment prospects elsewhere, put it that way.

Tasmania Tue 12-Mar-13 06:01:35

KateShrub - there are hardly any grammar schools left. I'm told that's how a lot of those in the previous generation got up the social ladder. These days, the divide is between state schools and private schools that charge a fee. And even between state schools, there are huge differences - often separating those from the "good post codes" from the rougher ones.

Basically, previously the rich went to private schools and the poor but intelligent went to grammar schools that expected the kids to go to uni, and the rest went elsewhere. Nowadays, there are hardly any grammar schools. People who can afford it (not just the rich) go private, while the rest of the state schools are divided between the haves and have-nots.

So while ability got you ahead a little before (of course, not as much as being rich), a lot of things these days are dependent on money. The few bursaries awarded does not quite replace the many grammar schools that have been abolished.

nailak Tue 12-Mar-13 09:13:27

what are the stats on the percentage of white British achieving a to c grades compared with other ethnicities?

cory Tue 12-Mar-13 09:19:12

Regarding immigrants as one huge mass does not tell us much about them. Many immigrants come into this country as doctors, nurses, academics: they are highly educated and expect the same of their children. Even among refugees, it is easier to make a get-away if you have money and contacts and knowledge of the world. And even in cases where well educated parents end up as taxi drivers and porters in the west because of lack of language skills or prejudice, they will still be able to support their children educationally in a way that is difficult for natives with low literacy in any language.

sashh Tue 12-Mar-13 09:32:03

You do realise that EAL students come in all shades including white. Have you noticed here are a few Polish people around.

Also are you sure most RCs are white?

Xenia Tue 12-Mar-13 09:35:45

If you move countries you tend to be the kind of person who wants to get on.
Secondly some cultures are tougher on their children. One of my children's friends used to say he wished I were his mother. He cried at school (when quite a big boy when no one cries) if he did not get an A because of fear of his parents at home. I am sure he did better at school as a result. I am not sure psychologically given the way it was done it was that good for him long term though. That was cultural pressure at home.

I love it that my children are/were in very mixed schools in terms of race and religion. If the class has a lot of children who are made to do their homework, think school ils a privilege, shut up in class because they are there to learn and very ambitious it makes learning much easier for everyone in the class. Couple that with the fact of selective entry for the private schools we use and it means a good result all round.

Chinese girls I think are top of all league tables and it goes down and down to whoever is at the bottom.

I don't know about Redbridge, however.

(Not sure (from the original post) Jews are classed as white, not that it matters).

camilamoran Tue 12-Mar-13 11:24:11

KateShrub - social mobility is to do with changes in the structure of the employment market. From the sixties there have been increases in the number of professional, managerial, technical, creative jobs. So the brighter and more talented members of the working class get sucked upwards into the middle class. The working class gets smaller and less able.

Its nothing to do with the existence of grammar schools, although of course it tends to be the grammar school kids who move on. It would happen whether you had grammar schools or not.

Social mobility slows down or stops when middle class jobs stop being created.

We now have a different sort of white working class from the one our parents grew up in, and a lot of the problem is an unintended side effect of social mobility.

KateShrub Tue 12-Mar-13 13:32:48
camilamoran Tue 12-Mar-13 15:53:59

Less than 90% in London though, I would guess. Lots of African Catholics around here.

Shagmundfreud Tue 12-Mar-13 18:00:05

Hmm, my children go to a primary school which is 85% non-white. Mostly black african, caribbean and mixed white english/caribbean. A smattering of asian and eastern european kids.

The school is the most oversubscribed in the borough. 6 in the top 10 primary schools in the borough are in my area, which is one of the poorest and most ethnically diverse ward in the borough. The poorest performing schools are all in one particular ward in the south of the borough which consists largely of a big council estate. These schools are predominantly full of white working class children.

My personal view is that white working class culture in the UK these days places no value on education for its own sake. Immigrants from other cultures living in London generally do value education and pass this on to their children. IMO emigrating is the biggest initiative test there is - people who come here from other countries and manage to find a home and get jobs are generally people with energy, drive and intelligence.

Things in my part of the borough do go a bit pear shaped at the end of primary. Lots of the hard working African and Caribbean children end up at Church schools in the prosperous south of the borough. Others move away from the area. The Caribbean children who stay in the area don't always do well at school. Well, the girls do ok, but the boys as a group do very, very badly, which is awful. Caribbean boys leave primary achieving at a good level and within 2 or 3 years many are failing at secondary school. I don't know what's at the root of it, but as a mother of mixed race boys, it really worries me.

Maria2013 Wed 27-Mar-13 21:44:41

Issues as such concern me too. I am in Clayhall , my teenagers are at Caterham High and still have a few years left there . Have to say though , Caterham high has the highest number of White British students in this area in my opinion and is a pretty decent School despite OFSTED bureaucrats putting a downer on it's performance lately . We have recently had a Jewish family move in next door to us from Brent Cross NW London who have 2 kids with one ready to move on to secondary education . Their Boy has been accepted to King Solomon which is a Jewish School and has recently had a lot of upgrade to it which looks positive . I asked my new neighbours why they had left NW London for Clayhall and they basically said the area was on a decline and expensive , therefore they found that this would be the next best place for them as they've got everything they need here to be Jewish . I'm assuming they're probably talking about Synagogues and Jewish Schools and Kosher butchers and other Jewish families .

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