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Pupils from a poor background

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 10:11

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27886925

Moving on from debate about whether we should have faith schools or not (I think not and majority agreed with me), there is an important article today by Sean Loughlan on BBC News about under achievers from poor backgrounds.

Employers like Dermot and others on Genes will be well aware that many children are not meeting any sort of basic standards in the school system currently.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 10:11


This is percentage achieving good GCSE's from a poor background currently:
White British background - 32%
Indian background - 62%
Pakistani background - 47%
Black African background - 51%
Black Caribbean background - 42%

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 18 Jun 2014 10:19

Those children who do best at school come from cultures and homes where education is valued. Their parents support the schools and work with the children at home. They praise their successes and help them with their failures.

The longest school day in the world cannot make up for inadequate parenting. If parents don't value and support education their children won't either.

NB I have never said there shouldn't be faith schools, my position is that faith schools should not be state funded.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 10:33

Thankyou, Guinevere. The key element seems to me to be Ofsted "outstanding" reports. One statistic in article is that half of pupils entitled to a free school meal will achieve a benchmark of five good GCSEs if they attend an "outstanding" school. But only 25% if school is inadequate.

Parental responsibility is an important factor, no doubt in my mind either. Some children begin school already well behind.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 18 Jun 2014 10:42

Many infant schools are having to teach children the basic skills for life because their parents haven't bothered. Children start school in nappies, unable to use a knife and fork, unable to dress themselves.That's a lot to catch up with and some never do.

The proportion of children receiving free meals in an inadequate school, is very likely to be (in my experience) much higher than in outstanding schools.

Also you don't have to be church mouse poor to get free school meals, it isn't a very good guide of home circumstances. Working families on low incomes also qualify as well as those living on benefits.

Also this is nothing new. When I was training I went into a school in a very poor inner city area and was told by teachers there that poor white kids were at the bottom of the scale of achievements.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 10:50

Don't think this is a new problem at all, Guinevere. It was happening when I went to school in 1950's. Some families value education because it is a passport to jobs and improving quality of your life. Some families just love educating themselves (Ask the Family gave examples of that).

And some parents just seem to think school is a waste of time. Just a way of getting cheap child-minding perhaps.

What is new is that these are findings of a cross party committee of MP's and they may have the ability and funds to attack the issue.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 18 Jun 2014 10:53

I don't think a longer school day can ever make up for inadequate parenting. You can't make parents care and parental influence is far greater than any other.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 11:06

One possible thing that may be causing this under-achievement amongst white children (only 28% of white boys from poor families achieve good GCSE grades compared to 62% from a poor Indian background) is that white families seem to break down much more easily than other ethnic groups. Don't know any facts, just empirical evidence. There is no longer that extended family built round the grandmother that used to exist in East End of London, for example.

Also, the poor mother in particular tends to work long hours at grindingly boring jobs with little employer support. Whereas a middle class mother can work more variable hours and usually has a boss who is very sympathetic when child emergencies rear their head.

So between 4pm and 6pm there is often no one at home, then a tired and bedraggled mum arrives home eventually. That 2 hours can be wasted, and there may be ways at school of using that wasted time to better effect.

Kay????

Kay???? Report 18 Jun 2014 11:33


The trouble is many parents attitude is,,,,,,,,,its not my job to help with reading,learning letters,assisting in basic sums,,,,its not my job to take any action to help you ,,,,,,its the teachers,,,,,,,,many dont have or wont make time,,,,,,,and that isnt only from low income families,,,,having money doesnt maketh a bright child.

mum goes off to her few hours evening job as soon as dad walks in the door,,dad hasnt got a great deal of patience or time as hes left to do the bedtime stint,,,,all he wants is it over and done with asp. so he can scan for the best view of the night.....but there are brillaint bright children from low income families who get lots of input at home......

My daughter whos a primary teacher ,,,gets so dispondent at the lack of parental interest and knows that their child would be so much better if a little active part was taken by parent/s,,,for which on a daily basis she just doesn't have time.

Cynthia

Cynthia Report 18 Jun 2014 11:39

Hey, Guinevere.......I am in total and utter agreement with you. It's good to find common ground :-D

Most teaching staff I have known, have worked above and beyond the call of duty to care for pupils where parental support has been inadequate or ineffective.

There are many opportunities to improve parenting skills, but I've no idea what the take up rate is.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 11:43

Quote from Report: "Poverty of expectation bears harder on educational achievement than material poverty, hard though that can be. And these expectations start at home"

My family was quite poor and I failed my O levels miserably. Many of my friends went into factory jobs or shops. Dad asked me what I wanted. I told him I didn't want to go into a factory but would like to work in a shop (2 O levels) or a bank (which required 5 O levels). I had one O level (in Maths) after attempting seven. My school (who were committed to success) disowned me.

Dad said "Why don't you enrol at Walsall Tech to do 4 or 5 O levels?". "Can you work part time at all as it will be a big struggle otherwise?". I got my four O levels - and I had also enjoyed nearly a year at Tesco in the Rotunda in Birmingham learning about the new phenomenon of supermarkets. And I got my job as a bank clerk, rising after 6 months to cashier in National Provincial.

Not many have parents like I had, regrettably.

Guinevere

Guinevere Report 18 Jun 2014 11:54

The problem with extending the school day is finding the extra teachers.

After school most full time teachers are involved in planning meetings, staff meetings, extra curricular activities (sport, drama, choir etc), on courses or are marking and planning for the next day. An army of part time teachers would need to be recruited and that will cost.

I rarely left school before 5pm on a "standard" school day. Very few teachers do.

DazedConfused

DazedConfused Report 18 Jun 2014 11:58

Again a typical Tory minister educated in the Private Sector hitting out at the poor again.

There are good and bad parents in every walk of life. Who sends their children off at age 4 to boarding school only to be seen on high days and holidays by their parents, not the working class.

This is another example of the progressive eating away at the working class and the poor. Do not bother to educate them as they do not deserve it.

It must be awful to be a Tory and not be able to find good English servants and have to employ foreign ones!

Bring back the workhouse, make the plebs kowtow to their 'betters' and teach them to know their place in life.....

MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL

COME THE REVOLUTION BROTHERS, I HAVE A LIST OF THOSE WHO WILL BE FIRST IN LINE ON THE WALL. ;-)

Kay????

Kay???? Report 18 Jun 2014 11:59


Its at primary learning that paves the way.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 11:59

Many thanks for contributions, Kay and Cynthia.

My daughter (see Avatar) has been a primary teacher for 10 years. School was in special measures a few years ago, but now has excellent reports from Ofsted. In a white working class area of a large town. She works exceptionally long hours, and is very very enthusiastic to make a difference in the lives of her children. And I could not be prouder of her.

I walked with her round quadrangle of Trinity, Cambridge a couple of months ago. She patted her stomach and told her unborn daughter "This is where you're coming in 18 years time". No pressure then :-D

DazedConfused

DazedConfused Report 18 Jun 2014 12:07

What seems to have missed throughout this thread is that this MP has actually stated that is it not worth even teaching these children!

So he wants them on the scrap heap without even trying to help.

Yes we all know about children who go to school in nappies, unable to use a knife and fork etc., due to bad parenting.

But I despair at the thought of abandoning just these children as this cretinous MP suggests.

:-|

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 12:08

Personally, I think it is the *first* year of a child's life that is the most important. Yes, I agree with Dazed/Confused that nannies can be excellent, but how much better that your parents stimulate you and spend time playing games.

Enoch Powell did not come from a fine background with nannies and nurses and cooks. But he could read Greek at age of 5 thanks to his mother. And he could speak 20 languages fairly fluently as an adult (including Welsh, which is very hard to learn but oldest and most classical European language). And some Councils use as excellent American learning scheme (called Portage) which helps child and parent pre-school.

JustJohn

JustJohn Report 18 Jun 2014 12:17

this MP has actually stated that is it not worth even teaching these children!

Just checked back on article and cannot see who you are referring to, D/C. Can't see any political affiliations of any committe contributors.

In committees across parties, you will have a wide cross section of opinion. It would be surprising if we agreed with all of their opinions. NUT has said poor achievement is down to poverty. Poverty is a contributor, but whole report seems to suggest parental encouragement and a fresh way of thinking about how we educate children for labour market in 2025 and beyond is required. Blaming poverty may be an easy cop-out that shifts blame from where it really lies.

Sirius

Sirius Report 18 Jun 2014 12:56

I agree with this

"A lot of the careers and jobs that were the bedrock of white working-class family life for many decades and generations have vanished and have not been well replaced," she said.

Committee chairman Graham Stuart said working-class parents might not realise how much the labour market had changed - and that their children would face a tough future if they failed to achieve in school.

"They might have hated school, left early - but still did well for themselves and they mistakenly assume their children can do the same,"

Re that last point, when children left school early ( 14 being the norm for my parents' generation if they were poor) there was a good chance that they would find a manual job that didn't require any academic achievements, once in that job they worked their way up both from a career point of view and educationally along the way.

The general point of view was that 'our children' will have a better education than us and thus have a better life. Academic success became the only benchmark for a while, it still is in a lot of cases.

I think now there is a feeling among the poor and those working but struggling that education won't buy that better life, only the well off will have those chances. I don't think there is the old atmosphere of 'aspiration'.

Sirius

Sirius Report 18 Jun 2014 13:07

Another thing, which perhaps some teachers will correct if I'm wrong, is that from my memory of my own school in the primary school years aged 5 to 11 the curriculum was quite basic in comparison to now, reading writing and arithmetic being the key elements, looking at a recent(ish) curriculum teachers are having to pack in so many subjects that it is almost impossible I would have thought to give adequate time to teaching the basics to those who are already at a disadvantage?