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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?

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


around 90%

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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