Thursday, December 13, 2007

A lesson that goes unlearned

Socialist Courier has often reported on the inequality of opportunity in education and our stance is that it is not accidental or a result of mistaken policy but integral to the class divide of society .

Yet again the media carries the same old story , privilege over poverty in education . Clever children from poor families face being overtaken by less bright children from affluent homes . The findings are part of a study for the Sutton Trust which says UK social mobility has not improved since 1970.

"It's a terrible thing that children from poor backgrounds, who are bright, end up actually not getting a very good start in life. They end up in schools that aren't very good and end up poor as adults and that's a terrible waste of talent and it's also basically wrong, it's just unfair." trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl said.

The trust's study by the London School of Economics and the University of Surrey concludes that the UK remains very low on the international rankings of social mobility.

Children from the poorest fifth of households who score some of the best results in tests aged three have fallen behind by the age of five. The report said that children in the poorest fifth of households but in the brightest group drop from the 88th percentile on cognitive tests at age three to the 65th percentile at age five . Meanwhile those from the richest households who are least able at age three move up from the 15th percentile to the 45th percentile by age five. The report authors conclude: "If this trend were to continue, the children from affluent backgrounds would be likely to overtake the poorer children in test scores by age seven".

They also said while 44% of young people from the richest 20% of households were awarded degrees in 2002, only 10% from the poorest 20% did so.

The report concludes: "Parental background continues to exert a significant influence on the academic progress of recent generations of children. Stark inequalities are emerging for today's children in early cognitive test scores - mirroring the gaps that existed and widened with age for children born 30 years previously."

It has also been reported on the BBC The children who could benefit most from out of school clubs are least likely to have access to them . Young people on free school meals were less likely to participate in after school activities than those from more affluent homes, research suggested. This was because rich parents were able to buy their children access to such clubs, while poorer parents could not.

"It's probably the kids who don't get much support at home who need activity programmes the most. Yet struggling schools in disadvantaged areas often lack the resources to offer them."

And in Scotland , the BBC reports , it is children from deprived areas of Scotland that are more likely to truant or be absent from school than other pupils . Latest attendance figures showed pupils registered for free school meals were away for an average of 10 days more than those who do not receive them .

1 comment:

egoutture said...

"Class divisions in the UK are just as wide as they were 30 years ago, according to new research published today. .. The report by the Sutton Trust, the education charity set up by Sir Peter Lampl, says social mobility in the UK remains at the low level set in 1970 – when the country was bottom of an international league table. Only the United States amongst Western democracies is on a par with the UK. It adds that children born today face "stark inequalities", with 44 per cent of young people from the richest fifth of the population going on to university, compared with only 10 per cent of those from the fifth of the population living in the poorest households." (Independent, 13 December)
Sir Peter described the situation as "shameful" and called for an enquiry that could break down this class barrier. But there is nothing shameful or surprising in this report. The rich have access to the best of food, clothing, shelter and education, and the poor don’t. That is how capitalism operates, Sir Peter. RD