Advanced search

To think its not undesirable to be working class?

(330 Posts)
HotSince82 Wed 17-Jun-20 19:44:43

And that actually you can live a perfectly nice life and be quite content, with no aspirations towards upwards social mobility?

I have been noticing in the news at present that WC children are being termed 'disadvantaged' with regards to homeschooling.
Presumably this is in relation to a supposed lack of laptops/ipads etc to aid online learning and/or lack of parental engagement/education level.
From personal experience I don't believe this to be the case. My children and their peers almost without exception have access to these things and parents are motivated and educated sufficiently to support their children's learning.
I am however in no way denying the very real experiences of the children who are living in economically and socially disadvantaged circumstances. I fundamentally believe that every possible scrap of governmental/educational support and assistance available should be provided to them throughout the covid crisis and beyond. I simply don't believe that such disadvantage is a reality within the very vast majority of WC households.

Surely WC isn't synonymous with disadvantage? I feel as though my family has a perfectly nice lifestyle as do those of my acquaintances who are all, broadly speaking very much WC.

I would go so far as to say that I would be content if any of my children replicated a standard of living which is similar to how they have been brought up. Yes, if they become extremely high earners that would I'm certain be rather lovely, but it is in no way a prerequisite to an enjoyable, contented life.

I'm pretty sure that I am correct in this assumption but if I'm missing anything I know that you will all point me in the right direction.

OP’s posts: |
SomeoneElseEntirelyNow Wed 17-Jun-20 19:48:53

I think if you've got multiple children in a house all with access to individual laptops and parents with the time and ability to homeschool (ie not working) then you're unlikely to be working class, truly. Both my parents were doctors and I didn't have that! Lots of people seem to think they're "working class" when really they're just working. I think the definitions need revisiting.

kojolo Wed 17-Jun-20 19:54:12

But surely when you were a child, laptops were much more expensive as it was longer ago?

Most people are working class.

SomeoneElseEntirelyNow Wed 17-Jun-20 19:56:18

I paid for my first laptop myself, it cost about £200. Same as my most recent one! We didn't have a computer each until we were in 6th form.

kojolo Wed 17-Jun-20 19:57:31

I'm still not sure this is a great metric for determining socioeconomic categories in the UK.

Boulshired Wed 17-Jun-20 19:58:27

I think generally they are talking about those below the poverty which are usually a sub group of the working class. Its not as clear cut as it use to be with varying cost of living.

SomeoneElseEntirelyNow Wed 17-Jun-20 19:58:59

I think the more pertinent point is that to properly homeschool a child you need one parent to be a SAHM, which in my experience is a luxury few working class families can afford.

HotSince82 Wed 17-Jun-20 20:00:49

I do understand your point to a certain degree, however I am definitely WC, I live in a resolutely WC area. Eldest DC has a laptop and primary aged DC have Ipads/amazon tablets which are sufficient for their needs. I'm a keyworker (non medic) and DH was furloughed so is able to homeschool.
We are not in unusual circumstances by any means.

What I suppose is that the WC encompasses rather a large variation of circumstances, yet whenever we are discussed in the media at large it is the most disadvantaged of our class who are presumed to be the majority.

In my lived experience most WC families and their children are living rather nice, not at all disadvantaged lifestyles.

OP’s posts: |
SomeoneElseEntirelyNow Wed 17-Jun-20 20:03:10

@HotSince82 out of interest, how are you defining working class?

Fairyliz Wed 17-Jun-20 20:04:27

I thought ‘working class’ nowadays meant not working? A misnomer if ever there was one.

HotSince82 Wed 17-Jun-20 20:07:49

Well I know its not a prescriptive definition but I am not middle class. Neither I, nor DH is employed in one of the traditional professions. Household income of circa 55-60K. Children not privately educated, run one eight year old car, holiday predominantly in the UK, victorian terrace without a driveway etc.

Our parents were not MC, mine were a policeman and a foster carer, DH was actually a free school meals kid from a disadvantaged area.

It would be difficult to argue that we are anything other than ordinary, WC people.

OP’s posts: |
Foobydoo Wed 17-Jun-20 20:08:09

We are a working class, low income family.
We have a p.c, two laptops, plus tablets and smartphones.
I stay at home due to caring for a child with asd.
I have just finished a part time degree.
I have spent lots of time doing home learning with my younger dc. Elder dd has just left school so hasn't had much to do.
We have never qualified for free school meals as DH as always worked full time but we are definitely working class.

HotSince82 Wed 17-Jun-20 20:09:01

@Fairyliz that was a rather rude thing to say. Incorrect too incidentally.

OP’s posts: |
Goosefoot Wed 17-Jun-20 20:09:42

So, in general terms, I don't think there is anything wrong with being working class.

What's more difficult in certain periods for working class families is when work becomes unstable, because the resources are not really there to tide over the family. In general when governments talk about making people wealthier, they forget that making people more stable is often more important.

It's also the case that when two parents need to work, there is less flexibility. The normalisation of two parents in ft employment has probably been hardest on the working and lower middle classes - they've seen little gain from it but carry most of the disadvantages.

As far as school at home, I've been homeschooling for 15 years, and yes, it really requires a parent available. Even the kids in fee paying schools who have been getting daily online instruction and have multiple devices at home aren't going to be able to carry on that way long term without a parent and if they try, many would probably be better off taught largely by the parent rather than by online teachers.

ambereeree Wed 17-Jun-20 20:09:50

@fairyliz yes thats what we all hear nowadays. Anyone with a job suddenly catapultes themselves into middle class life.
It's funny as I have a 90 year old neighbour who considers our neighbourhood a good working class area because people have good jobs. The other neighbours all consider themselves middle class doctors, lawyers, other city types commuting into London.

Foobydoo Wed 17-Jun-20 20:10:07

Oh and in answer to the op. I agree.
We have a nice life.
The children have enough, some things we buy are second hand but we have everything we need.

Boulshired Wed 17-Jun-20 20:11:43

You can be a millionaire and consider yourself working class or broke with huge debts and consider yourself middle class. The language is very outdated. The disadvantaged are generally those were the odds are stacked against them and generally they are from a working class background. A working class community in a area of good employment will be vastly different to an area of low employment or low paid employment. Their advantages and disadvantages will be different and their chance of social mobility will vary.

Mrsemcgregor Wed 17-Jun-20 20:12:32

We are working class in that we both come from a WC background and we earn under the national average in non-professional jobs.

We have 1 home pc, 1 tablet, 1 new laptop and one older laptop. We have one old car, live in a nice area in a privately rented 2 bed.

We put a lot of importance on education, not for aspirational reasons but because it’s important to be educated regardless of whether you are a QC Barrister or a supermarket employee. So my children watch a lot of documentaries, read encyclopaedias and classic novels. Our holidays are to places of historic importance and we visit many museums. I’m sure all these things sound very middle class, but that’s just pandering to stereotypes.

I am certain that my children are not any more disadvantaged than those from middle class families.

SomeoneElseEntirelyNow Wed 17-Jun-20 20:13:28

@HotSince82 see, with a household income of £55-60k a year I'd say you're absolutely not working class unless the jobs you do are manual labour. Working class (from a discerning google) is low-paid, unskilled OR manual labour. With that much annual income I'd call you middle class.

Fairyliz Wed 17-Jun-20 20:13:56

I couldn’t be more working class come from a family of miners. However when the media talk about working class living in poverty, that doesn’t apply to the people like my family who work, albeit in not very well paid jobs. We can afford food and technology. I take it they mean non working people.

ArriettyJones Wed 17-Jun-20 20:14:06

Household income of circa 55-60K. Children not privately educated, run one eight year old car, holiday predominantly in the UK, victorian terrace without a driveway etc.

That doesn’t sound very WC to me.

I was going to ask if you own or rent, but TBH I think the income pushes you up out of the WC either way.

OFC, you might well be culturally WC on a MC income, but cultural class isn’t the issue with disadvantaged children.

MaleficentsCrow Wed 17-Jun-20 20:15:22

I think the working class has become divided a bit like middle class has.

You get

lower working class
Upper working class
Middle class
Upper middle class

I'd say lower working class are the disadvantaged ones. They tend to be in non skilled jobs or no jobs and their income / expenditure either runs tight to the wire or they run negative.

Upper working class tend to have non skilled jobs but better paid ones the 19-25k bracket. They have more disposable income on average, bit also run close to the wire. They are literally a pay day away from become the former.

Meredithgrey1 Wed 17-Jun-20 20:15:43

I know it's not all about income but I think most people wouldn't consider a household income of £60k to be working class.

Sandybval Wed 17-Jun-20 20:15:50

I'm not really sure that pointless narratives on class are really useful or applicable anymore? I grew up on a council estate, both of my parents worked hard but had no qualifications and worked low paid menial jobs. I went to university, now own a house, earn nearly triple of what my parents combined income was when they retired, and dont have to worry about money (although I'm still pretty frugal because I can't stand the thought of wasting money). I am still the same person though, i can't say I'm really bothered whether I'm referred to as working or middle class, I am proud of where I came from but also feel fortunate to be in the position I am in now. Historically working class has been the lowest earners, and I'm not sure it really applies in the same way now. Why are you interested though OP?

GrumpyHoonMain Wed 17-Jun-20 20:16:16

According to Investopedia:

"Working class" is a socioeconomic term used to describe persons in a social class marked by jobs that provide low pay, require limited skill, or physical labor. Typically, working-class jobs have reduced education requirements. Unemployed persons or those supported by a social welfare program are often included in the working class.

Join the discussion

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

Get started »