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DfE finds that higher parental incomes buy better educational outcomes

(426 Posts)
noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 18:30:32

In a piece of research that will surprise no one, it turns out that children of wealthier parents do better at school.

However, while it is obvious that PP students and especially FSM pupils perform particularly badly, pupils from below-median-income families perform lower than, but more in line with children from wealthier families than with PP pupils.

What the DfE really want to know in this consultation, however, is whether they should refer to below-median-income families who don't qualify for PP as 'Ordinary Working Families'.

consult.education.gov.uk/school-leadership-analysis-unit/analysing-family-circumstances-and-education-1/

Good to know that they are spending their time and effort focusing on the key issues in education at the moment.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 19:34:32

I'm guessing that they were hoping to find out with the preliminary research that families just above the breadline were significantly disadvantaged educationally but didn't fall into the PP bracket so were going unnoticed.

What they actually seems to have shown is that ordinary working families are doing ok, and that the category of 'pupil premium' seems to be doing a good job of singling out the group of students most in need of extra support.

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Apr-17 19:35:50

How do they know household income? Are they tying up parental tax returns with student outcome? Or just assuming it based on postcode or something?

(There are 90 houses in our road all with the same postcode varying from housing association flats to 5 bedroom detached so postcode doesn't seem all that good a system.)

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Apr-17 19:39:22

It's good the PP funding is doing its bit to help. My DDs get PPP (or whatever it's called now), and we really value some of the extra support they get in school as its something we can't 'buy' outside of school.

thecatfromjapan Wed 12-Apr-17 19:39:28

noblegiraffe That is kind of depressing but I have to admit that your clear - and wry - analysis has made me smile. flowers

I hope PP is continued and further research undertaken as to how to use it most effectively.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 19:41:27

From the document:

25. This data linking has been undertaken utilising the data sharing powers under the Education and Skills Act 2008, as amended by the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The legal aspects, and measures taken to ensure privacy is respected and protected, are explored further in the final section.
26. The following information was linked:
personal characteristics of the pupils including: age, sex, ethnicity, primary language, location, school level information, attainment and progress measures;
tax credit information via Child Benefit claimed by parents/guardians;
employee tax data on parent/guardian income;
Housing Benefit; and
other benefits.

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Apr-17 19:46:46

So our tax returns? - at least that will be accurate then.

Ontopofthesunset Wed 12-Apr-17 19:52:47

I suppose all those above the median income are 'extraordinary working families'.

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Apr-17 20:01:09

Ontop grin

I wonder which correlates better - parental income or parental levels of education? As I guess there is a reasonable link between the two.

So who will do better: the child of a premier league footballer (who didn't have a great education), or the child of an Oxbridge graduate who then had an accident and has been unable to work since?

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 20:06:16

I hope PP is continued and further research undertaken as to how to use it most effectively.

When PP came in I was a bit hmm but I've had to admit that the figures for PP students are shocking and it does seem to have identified a group of pupils who need extra help.

I know it's a blunt instrument and doesn't pick up everyone who needs support, but I think it was excellent work on the part of the Lib Dems in the coalition.

thecatfromjapan Wed 12-Apr-17 20:09:22

Yes. I'm hoping that they get some credit for the PP. Wonder if it's too soon yet, though (people still being v. angry about the coalition).

(Disclosure: I'm not a LibDem grin. Just interested in PP children.)

thecatfromjapan Wed 12-Apr-17 20:10:00

grin @ 'extraordinary working families'.

TeenAndTween Wed 12-Apr-17 20:24:03

Off topic. I liked the coalition. Never understood the Lib Dem supporters who didn't understand that the Lib Dems would need to compromise, and similarly the Tory ones. I thought the Lib Dems brought humanity to the Tory financial prudence. And I went to school with Nick Clegg when I was 5

Didn't know that PP was a Lib Dem thing. Good for them.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 21:27:25

I didn't like the coalition much because it was still the Tories in charge in the main, but bloody hell it was way better than the current horror. Tories Unleashed puts the whole thing into a much better context.

People are mainly pissed off at the Lib Dems over tuition fees. That was never going to fly though. PP has made a huge difference to how these pupils are treated in schools.

Ontopofthesunset Wed 12-Apr-17 21:34:40

I have opened the document and have read the blurb but haven't looked at all the charts yet

I agree that the education level of parents would be another very useful variable.

I do think it's rather insulting to all other families (particularly those just above the median) to try to commandeer the term 'ordinary working families' for a group who would more accurately be referred to as 'families earning below the median but not qualifying for pupil premium.' I bet most of the families earning more than the median, apart from the very top percentiles, are working pretty hard and are pretty ordinary.

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 21:39:41

haven't looked at all the charts yet

Spot the spelling mistake on page 13 when you do...

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 21:41:46

Oh, here's the punchline I was waiting for:

Justine Greening wants schools to do more for 'ordinary working families'.

How is she going to ensure that when they seem to be doing ok? A large cash injection for families who don't do particularly worse than what are being called 'more affluent families' is going to be divisive.

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-39577516

thecatfromjapan Wed 12-Apr-17 21:59:46

Yes, noblegiraffe. I think this data reveals just how cynical the whole "we must do more for 'ordinary families'" (translation: "we're going to move money from the poor to people we think will vote for us") discourse is.

LineysRun Wed 12-Apr-17 22:04:25

Thanks for this, noble.

smilingsarahb Wed 12-Apr-17 22:09:36

The difference between the two graphs is interesting. First one shows a gradual increase through the income levels. Those pupil progress figures leap for the top income don't they.

Sadik Wed 12-Apr-17 22:48:35

Am I right in thinking that the Progress 8 results show that pupils from the wealthiest families actually pull away further through secondary as compared to their end-of-primary achievements? (Not in England, so not that informed about Progress 8.)

(If I were being cynical, I would suggest that these figures may yet end up being used to demonstrate that Pupil premium is clearly not working and should be scrapped - since pupils in receipt are doing so badly relative to those from other low income families . . .)

Sadik Wed 12-Apr-17 22:52:05

If so I'm guessing that the leap in pupil progress figures for the top income bracket suggests a strong return to private education - interesting in that I'd always believed private school exam results to be largely down to selection (explicit or otherwise) of able pupils.

(Which wouldn't of itself suggest that private education is a waste of money - contacts, confidence building etc are obviously a major draw for many parents.)

noblegiraffe Wed 12-Apr-17 22:58:48

They only looked at pupils who were in state schools, no idea what the progress figures would be for private education but they don't always do qualifications that count in league table measures, and private primaries don't usually do SATs so usual measures don't apply to them.

Sadik Wed 12-Apr-17 23:04:53

OK, will have to read the doc properly. Thanks for linking - even if it's being used for political ends (these things always are sad ), it looks like an interesting use of data.

PickAChew Wed 12-Apr-17 23:06:05

I wonder if the term ordinary working families is used to differentiate from ordinary layabout families. Or maybe abnormal working families.

Not even going to try to wade through the document at this time of night after a particularly insane day, but is this data correcting for parents with degrees, children with SEN and SN and so on? I should imagine the latter are represented pretty heavily in the red area, since having kids with SN often puts a bit of a dampener on a lot of people's even modest career goals.

Sadly, I agree with Sadik about the potential motivation behind this report. Ass backwards conclusions will be reached, namely that you can't make a silk purse from a pig's ear, rather than observing that the kids who are doing best have a home environment that enables it, are less likely to be living with LD/SEN and probably have more spent on tutoring than the PP is per pupil.

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