White British pupils underperforming because of parents

(267 Posts)
noblegiraffe Mon 04-Apr-16 11:55:01

White British pupils are underperforming at GCSE and it's because of the parents claims a report out today:
www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/04/white-children-falling-behind-other-groups-at-gcse

So what do families from other cultures do differently?

guerre Mon 04-Apr-16 11:57:27

Value education.

This isn't news, it's been the case for twenty years.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Apr-16 12:17:06

When the usual stories come out about how the Brits are performing poorly compared to the international competition (e.g. PISA) the blame is put on teachers, schools, the education system.

Why would a parent value an education that they are always being told is crap?

Drinkstoomuchcoffee Mon 04-Apr-16 12:17:35

"White British" covers a massive range . Children from intelligent and supportive white British families will continue to do very well in exams. So too will those from intelligent and supportive families of other ethnicities. It would be much more interesting to see a breakdown by family income, family structure etc. Do children from rich white British families do less well than those from rich Asian families? Do children from white British single parent/divorced family backgrounds do less well than those from Afro Caribbean single parent/divorced families?

guerre Mon 04-Apr-16 12:21:34

Maybe they've lost sight of the fact that you get out what you put in?
Too many parents think it's schools' responsibility to educate children. Wrong- it starts before birth.
The state system is there to supposedly even-up the life chances of those born to less fortunate circumstance. Sadly, that hasn't been the case for about twenty years, mainly since the introduction, but that may be purely coincidental. The decline had started long before then. My parents were constantly shocked at how poor my schooling was, and how little we knew! (70s/80s English state system)

guerre Mon 04-Apr-16 12:22:42

Introduction of National Curriculum and SATs that should say!

Kelandry Mon 04-Apr-16 12:25:50

When I was In school, to be seen to be trying was a one way street to being bullied. Coast, give enough sass to teachers to stay in the 'safe zone' and do the bare minimum. I hope things have changed, but I see this report and think not.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Apr-16 12:25:51

The report shows that students with English as an additional language who are on free school meals do way better than those with English as their first language who are on free school meals.

SpeakNoWords Mon 04-Apr-16 12:28:55

You can value education without particularly valuing a specific education system. Parents who value education might hire tutors, or do additional work at home with their children to compensate for an education system they feel is inadequate.

VertigoNun Mon 04-Apr-16 12:31:47

I noticed white Irish students doing much better. I wonder if family breakdown is to blame?

SmallCarrot Mon 04-Apr-16 12:32:57

Apparently it's all to do with how much the parents value education, limit time their children spend on screens and whether or not they eat dinner round the dining room table rather than in front of the television.
If you are from a middle class nice family and spend time talking to your children they will do much better than if you stick them in front of a screen and ignore them. It's not rocket science.

quencher Mon 04-Apr-16 12:35:43

It's down to attitude from poor white working class British kids. It has become a cycle and you need more than the school to break it. Years ago theses children would have had apprenticeships to fall back on or before that working in the mines. You don't have that these days. Every one is in the same boat and parents who never valued education may not have seen it as something to aspire too.

There are failures in all walks of life. But with regard to white children it's the system this country has set set up which fail them. Most foreigners don't take notice of the class structure when they arrive.
The effects of grammar schools and technical schools is still manifesting itself in today's children through their parents.

This is what I think.

ZedWoman Mon 04-Apr-16 12:40:31

I teach at the type of school that MNers love to hate. It is a very oversubscribed CofE comprehensive. It achieves excellent results because the type of families able to access the school are generally heavily involved and invested in their children's education.

Out of a class of 28 Year 8 students, I had requests for appointments at parents' evening for 25 of them. One of the common questions asked was 'What can I do to help my child?'

Like a lot of secondary schools, it is going through a financial crisis. There are no textbooks to support the new KS3 courses. Teachers are often teaching (not great lessons) way outside their specialism. The pupils will continue to get good results because of the type of family involvement. Parents ask about the course we follow so they can buy a textbook of Amazon to support class work. They print off summary sheets and revision sheets from the school's VLE as we can't afford the photocopying.

The number of students who obviously don't give a sh*t about education is tiny (1 or 2 per year group). Often, there is little to nothing you can do with those students. Luckily, there are very few of them in our school.

The school has a very good reputation locally for behaviour and results. It is a virtuous cycle which means the school can attract (relatively speaking as the 'pool' is incredibly small) the best teachers.

I'm not arguing that this situation is 'right' or socially acceptable. Having a school that is only accessible to parents willing to jump through all sorts of hurdles is highly questionable.

quencher Mon 04-Apr-16 12:41:46

When I was In school, to be seen to be trying was a one way street to being bullied. Coast, give enough sass to teachers to stay in the 'safe zone' and do the bare minimum. I hope things have changed, but I see this report and think not.

I have heard people say a lot of this. Those who managed to get into gramma schools from poor families or areas where seen as sell outs.

The British attitude to not seeing your self as a winner I would assume is a massive problem too. People have to strive to be the best. In this country it's wrong to have such attitudes. You perceived as arrogant for wanting to win at something.
You can't just do well without working hard.

VertigoNun Mon 04-Apr-16 12:42:38

My Grandfather (Irish) wasn't allowed to learn. The Irish would hide behind hedges to teach children in secret, as the British didn't allow schooling. Education is valued as a result.

Irish culture was linked to religion and there was little family breakdown compared to England.

AppleSetsSail Mon 04-Apr-16 12:44:16

This study is a nightmare for Guardian-types.

Very sad indeed.

noblegiraffe Mon 04-Apr-16 12:46:22

Looking at the report more closely, white British kids are doing well compared to other backgrounds at age 5, are slipping down by the end of KS2 and are doing poorly at the end of KS4.

So they're fine when they start school. Parents are doing the right things with their kids up till then.

I often see on here 'I don't believe in homework for primary school kids'. Is that a white British thing?

AppleSetsSail Mon 04-Apr-16 12:47:47

So they're fine when they start school. Parents are doing the right things with their kids up till then.

I wonder how much of this is being native speakers of English, though?

SmallCarrot Mon 04-Apr-16 12:50:38

Zed that sounds like a large proportion of the students at my DCs school. Something else which helps is small class sizes, the school has 10 academic sets so the more able students and the ones who don't want to learn (I'm going to be hated on MN now aren't are?!) are separated from each other. DD and DS both say that there are no children in their sets who mess about, they are all ones who work hard and want to get on well.

VertigoNun Mon 04-Apr-16 12:52:24

I think I or my grandad got the Irish education history wrong. He died in the 1980's and was old. The point was he was in his 80's telling us how lucky we were to receive education.

www.askaboutireland.ie/learning-zone/primary-students/5th-+-6th-class/history/my-school-history/17th-and-18th-century-hed/hedge-schools/

quencher Mon 04-Apr-16 12:52:27

*This study is a nightmare for Guardian-types.

Very sad indeed.*

No, it's actually good. Which means that the people you are assuming are actually moving on and finding their feet. What is wrong with that. Maybe they have started to leave their issues behind and the U.K Is improving in those areas. The only difference is one group of white working people needs help and a solution should be found in the education system. Your attitude won't help solve. hmm

twelly Mon 04-Apr-16 12:53:07

I am not surprised, as there has been so much emphasis on interventions and help for those who are doing less well or who have additional needs those children in the middle get left.

Cloudhowe63 Mon 04-Apr-16 12:54:15

What do they mean by 'white British'? England, Scotland and Wales have different education systems. The English system in particular may be damaged by an escalating lack of trust due in no small part to the actions of successive governments. Perhaps the Irish system is largely trusted and supported by the communities it serves.

Pipbin Mon 04-Apr-16 12:54:15

Also remember that children who have English as a second language are the children of people who have decided to move to another country in search of a better life. They have moved to another country to give their children better opportunities. They are motivated and will push their children to make the most of this opportunity.

SpeakNoWords Mon 04-Apr-16 12:55:57

The report is about education in England only.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now