Showing posts with label social mobility. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social mobility. Show all posts

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Education - a fail mark

Boroughmuir High School in Edinburgh came joint first in Scotland, (along with Glasgow’s Jordanhill School), after figures released showed 69 per cent of S5 pupils obtained three Highers or more. A few miles away not one student left either Wester Hailes Education Centre or Castlebrae Community High with a Higher, let alone the qualifications needed for a university place.

In Glasgow, just 5 per cent of students at Govan High School obtained three or more Highers, while schools in deprived areas of Aberdeen and Dundee also performed poorly.

Meanwhile Scotland's university for the elite, St Andrews, where Prince William and Kate Middleton studied, is accused of failing to enrol students from the poorest backgrounds - only 13 students from the most deprived backgrounds of the country in 2010/11 – 2.7% of the student intake.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

British Inequality

According to this BBC report , after 30 years of unprecedented economic growth, the British are richer, healthier - but no happier than in 1973. The main reason for the rise in wealth has been the increase in house prices. But the growing wealth has not led to greater happiness.

In 1973, 86% of people said they were satisfied with their standard of living, while in 2006 85% were satisfied. And one in six UK adults reported that they suffered from a variety of mental health problems in the latest survey, of which the largest category was "mild anxiety and depression."

The amount of goods and services purchased by UK households has risen by two and half times in thirty years.

But that increase in spending was not evenly distributed among the whole population, with the income of those in the top 10% of the income distribution going up much faster than that of households of the bottom 10%. In 1979, the real disposable income of the top 10% was three times greater than the real income of those in the bottom 10%, but by 2006 that had grown to four times greater.

And social mobility also appears to have declined, according to studies cited in the report. Children born in 1958 to poor parents coming to adulthood in the 1970s, were more likely to have moved to a higher part of the income distribution than those born in 1970, who came of age in the new millennium.

And child poverty has remained stubbornly high, with 22% of children living in relative poverty in 2005/6, compared to 27% in 1990/91.

Monday, March 31, 2008


Fewer pupils from deprived backgrounds are going to university in Scotland despite a raft of initiatives to widen participation, according to a new report.

In 2006-07, just 14% of school-leavers from secondaries in the lowest participation areas for higher education went to university compared to 19% in 2002-03. Over the same period, the proportion of pupils from the schools which enjoy the highest rates of progression to higher education has fallen only slightly, from 31% to 29%.

One of the aspirations of the government expansion of higher education in the mid-1980s, and then again in 1992, was to allow wider participation, but the main beneficiaries have been the "middle" classes.

John McClelland, chairman of the Scottish Funding Council said more should be done to address inequalities of opportunity.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "It is unacceptable that an educational gap between advantaged and disadvantaged people opens up early in a child's life and continues throughout."

Yet another failure of well-meaning palliatives .

Socialist Courier also wonders if the UK will follow the growing trend in the American student loan market where banks including HSBC, have pulled out . In the US, many undergraduates take out a federal guaranteed loan and top up their financial needs with a private loan from lenders such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citi-group. In the academic year 2005-06, $17 billion in private student loans was used to finance higher education. Banks have become reluctant to offer private student loans because worsening credit conditions have meant that they cannot package up the loans and sell them on. The brightest students who win places at America’s rich Ivy League universities will be affected less because of generous bursaries - which do not have to be repaid – less able students applying to other institutions are expected to face difficulty in securing private loans to fund their study. At one end of the field is Harvard University, with $34 billion of endowments, and at the other are many community colleges and low-tier universities with limited resources.
"...those students with poor credit scores or without the rich uncle co-signers [loan guarantor] may have real problems funding themselves.” The Consumer Bankers’ Association, said

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Gap Widens ( 4 )

And From the BBC

The rapidly rising incomes of the richest 10% of the population are the major factor contributing to growing inequality in Britain.
According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), an independent think tank, the incomes of the top 10% have risen faster than those of the population as a whole since Labour came to power in 1997. And that increase has been particularly concentrated at the very top of the income distribution - among the half million individuals in the top 1% of the income scale.
Between the 1996-97 tax year and 2004-05, the income of the richest 1% grew at an annual rate of 3.1%, compared to 2.3% for the population as a whole, and the income of the top 0.1% grew by 4.4%. The stock market boom has boosted the income of the rich
The growth was particularly strong in the Labour's first term, where the income of the super-rich grew by 8% per year. The IFS suggests that the rising stock market between 2005 and 2007 may have further boosted the income of the rich - a view confirmed by the 20% increase in the wealth of those in the Sunday Times rich list in 2007.

In contrast, those at the bottom of the income distribution - and especially the poorest 15% of households - saw their income go up at below-average rates, and in some cases even fell.

"It seems there are two interesting phenomena, at either end of the income scale, that are driving trends in overall income inequality" said IFS's Mike Brewer
Overall, the gap between the bottom 10% and the top 10% has widened. The top 10% of individuals in the UK now receive 40% of all personal income, while the bottom 90% receive 60%. The top 0.1% get 4.3% of all income - the highest figure in the UK since the 1930s, and three times as much as they received as a share of income in 1979.

The report says that "income inequality is at its highest level since the late 1940s".

The average income of the top tenth, of £49,950, was double the average income of all taxpayers (£24,769) and triple that of all households (£15,000), one-third of whom pay no tax.
To get into the top 1%, an individual needed an income of £100,000, and to get into the top 0.1%, £350,000. The average income of £155,000, while the top 0.1% of taxpayers had an average income of £780,000.

Male: 90%
Middle-aged: 80%
Live in London/SE: 70%
Work in finance, property, accountancy, law: 60%
Average income: £785,000
Source: IFS, top 0.1% of GB taxpayers, 2004/5

Monday, December 31, 2007

education , once more

Even the Tories are saying it . Children from the most deprived areas of England are falling further behind in school compared to more affluent pupils .

Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove highlighted figures showing a widening of the social gap in achievement. The figures show a 43.1% gap between the proportions of wealthy and deprived pupils achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths in 2007. In 2006, this gap in GCSEs, in favour of the wealthiest, had been 28.4%. The figures are based on comparisons of the GCSE results of pupils from the ten percent most affluent areas and the ten percent most deprived. These figures reflect the attainment gap using another poverty indicator - free-school meals.

This social divide in exam results shows "the education system is letting down the poorest," says Mr Gove

The government figures show how the link between home background and achievement stubbornly persists throughout children's years in school. When the school population is divided into 10 bands of affluence and deprivation, the level of achievement rises in precise step with increased wealth in every subject and at every level.

No matter what the palliatives that will be promised to address the problems , the cause is capitalism and poverty and those will not be challenged in any meaningful manner and inequalities of opportunity shall continue .

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 .

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yuppie Blues

They were the generation with "loadsa money" .

But now the former 1980s yuppies are struggling to live within their means in middle age.

Almost half of the Young Urban Professionals of 20 years ago are finding it tough financially,
"Despite the champagne lifestyle and optimism of the time, our research reveals that many former high flyers have ended up no better off than the average mid-life family. They are just as worried about meeting the monthly bills, the cost of bringing up their kids and how they will fund their old age." - said the communications director at Liverpool Victoria friendly society

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The inequalities of the UK

From The Independent :-

Britain may appear to be a richer country than a decade ago but the gap between the rich and poor has reached levels not seen for more than 40 years. The highest earners are being dubbed "the new Victorians" as they take an ever-greater slice of the wealth pie, leaving mere employees and white-collar workers sharing the crumbs.

Government statistics show that the richest 10 % of the population control 53 % of the wealth of the country, with the 1 % jet-set elite controlling no less than 21 % .

In the City, fat-cat pay awards, with top executives earning 100 times more than their employees, are merely the most obvious examples of where the balance has become skewed. The kingpins of Britain's opaque private equity and hedge funds are earning considerably more while simultaneously paying "less tax than a cleaner", according to Nicholas Ferguson, chairman of private-equity and fund management group SVG Capital. In the UK, Peter Taylor, chief executive of Duke Street Capital, has admitted that the tax paid by private equity companies such as his is "unnecessarily low". The number of billionaires born, living or making their money in the UK has trebled in the past four years, and the number of millionaires is expected to quadruple to 1.7 million by 2020. Sir Ronald Cohen, one of the UK's richest men, founder of private equity group Apax, whose non-domiciled status has caused controversy, has said the wealth gap could lead to rioting in the streets.

In the US a report from the Institute for Policy Studies last week showed that the average chief executive of a Fortune 500 company now earns 364 times the pay of a typical US worker, while four hedge fund and private equity bosses took home more than $1bn (£500m) in the past year. The investment guru Warren Buffett, the third richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system that allows him to pay less tax than his secretary.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the social policy research organisation, says that society is becoming polarised. Its latest report states that "wealthy households in already wealthy areas are becoming disproportionately richer compared with society as a whole."

The level of social mobility in the UK – the ease with which the next generation can expect to become more affluent than their parents – is among the lowest of any developed nation.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Private schools - only for the richer of us

Marx talks of how capitalism drives those professionals often vaguely called the middle class into the ranks of the proletariat so i note this story in the Herald .

Teachers, engineers, and police officers have been priced out of private education by a 40% rise in fees in just five years, according to the Bank of Scotland.
It now costs an average of £8247 every year to educate a child privately in Scotland compared with £6039 in 2002, and fees are now rising at twice the rate of inflation. Only prices for houses are growing faster. The average earner in a number of occupations, including engineers, journalists and teachers, can no longer afford private education for their offspring. average school fees were now only in the reach of 13 occupations, down from 23 in 2002.

Affordability was measured at a quarter of average earnings for the profession. So a scientist, earning an average of £37,290 a year, would have to give up an unaffordable 26% of his or her income to put one child through school for a year. But an architect, with an average income £42,224, would only be parting with a bearable 23% of their earnings.The professions that could afford fees were company directors, bank managers, accountants, production managers, IT professionals, doctors, pilots, senior police officers, lawyers, architects and customer care managers.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Education and class division

Dr Elliot Major said: "This analysis shows that the school you attend at age 11 has a huge impact on your life chances, and particularly how likely you are to reach the top of your chosen profession. We are still to a large extent a society divided by wealth, with future elites groomed at particular schools and universities, while the educational opportunities available to those from non-privileged backgrounds make it much more difficult for them to reach the top."

Lee Elliot Major of the Sutton Trust, an educational charity, compared the school and university background of 500 people currently at the top of their fields with 500 similarly successful people 20 years ago.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Social Mobility Stands Still

A charity's study has found that children born in the 1950s had a better chance of escaping poverty than those born in the 1970s. The research was carried out on behalf of the Sutton Trust by the London School of Economics .
Professor Steve Machin, from LSE, said: "We had a very big expansion of the higher education system in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but contrary to many people's expectations this actually reinforced social immobility." People at the bottom of the "income distribution" were ill-equipped to take advantage of the greater opportunities.

The founder of education policy group, the Sutton Trust, Sir Peter Lampl says Britain has "the lowest social mobility of any country you can measure".
He went on to say that inequality between the rich and poor in Britain was a root cause of the problem.

This study re-confirms an earlier LSE report on social mobility and Peter Lampl echoes the view of Alan Milburn, the former Labour cabinet minister who grew up in a single-parent family on a council estate, who said it would be harder today for someone from a similar background to get ahead in society than it was a generation ago.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Social mobility

From The Scotsman :-

Alan Milburn, the former Labour cabinet minister who grew up in a single-parent family on a council estate, yesterday said it would be harder today for someone from a similar background to get ahead in society than it was a generation ago. Mr Milburn, a close friend of Tony Blair, said that "shamefully", Britain has become a less socially mobile society in recent years, questioning whether today's deprived children will be able to break out of poverty in adulthood.
A London School of Economics report in 2005 showed declining social mobility in Britain, with more poor children becoming poor adults, and more rich children staying rich in later life.
The LSE team found that 31 per cent of boys born in 1958 in the lowest-earning group stayed there in adulthood. But that rose to 38 per cent of boys born in 1970.
Also according to the LSE data, 27 per cent of British boys born in 1970 ended up in the same earnings group as their parents.