Sunday, 13 October 2019

Working Class Kids And A Loaded Education System.

         Most working class families realise that their kids get a raw deal when it comes to education. Even so, it is nice to have it made clear in facts and figures, and Professor Diane Reay's book does just that. Her recent book has been reviewed in the Guardian and makes for very interesting reading.
     Diane Reay, is a Cambridge University professor of education, her background might surprise you, The daughter of a coalminer, and the eldest of eight, she grew up on a council estate and received free school meals. She then spent 20 years working as a teacher in London primary schools before moving into academia and ending up at Cambridge.
Extract from the Guardian review:
  Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian
  -------Research suggests it is the wealth and inclination of parents, rather than the ability and efforts of the child, that have the most bearing on a child’s educational success today. “If you’re a working class child, you’re starting the race halfway round the track behind the middle class child. Middle class parents do a lot via extra resources and activities.”
       Less affluent children also get a more restrictive educational offer, she discovered. “It wasn’t until I talked to young people about their experiences that I realised how different and unequal their educations were. Because the schools that working class children mostly go to are not doing well in the league tables, there’s a lot of pressure on their teachers and heads to increase their league table position. That means they focus ruthlessly on reading, writing and arithmetic.”
      Some children in these schools talked wistfully about hardly ever doing art, drama or dance: “These children come from families where their parents can’t afford to pay for them to do those activities out of school. It almost feels criminal. It feels very unfair.”
       The difference between amounts spent on educating children privately or in the state sector is stark. She cites research from University College London that found £12,200 a year is the average spending on a privately educated primary pupil, compared with £4,800 on a state pupil. For secondary, it’s £15,000 compared with £6,200.
       “Society has got more unfair, and the gap between the rich and poor is a lot greater than it was even 30 years ago. We’ve got to move back instead of going further in the direction of austerity, which seems to be punishing the poor.”
       She believes the government’s support for academies and free schools is powerfully ideological. “It’s about opening up education to the markets. I found it particularly shocking – and I had to read some quite boring parliamentary reports to get the information – that masses of money has gone into the academy and free school programme, and it’s been taken out of the comprehensive school system.”
       Reay found that free schools receive 60% more funding per pupil than local authority primaries and secondaries, and that £96m originally intended for improving underperforming schools was redistributed to academies.
      To make things worse, an analysis of Department for Education data reveals that schools with the highest numbers of pupils on free school meals are facing the deepest funding cuts: in secondary schools with more than 40% of children on free school meals, the average loss per pupil will be £803. That’s £326 more than the average for secondary schools as a whole. And primary schools with high numbers of working class pupils are expected to lose £578 per pupil.
          Another blow being inflicted on working class children is through the way they are treated in some super-strict schools, argues Reay. She says some academies operate on the principle that working class families are chaotic and children need school to impose control. “There’s lots of lining up in silence, standing to attention when an adult comes into the room, and mantras. I think it’s about disrespecting working class young people and their families. ------
It is well worth reading the full review HERE:
      Perhaps reading these facts and figures will bring home to the ordinary people that it is not just the education system that is loaded against them, it is the ideology of the entire system, it is designed to make sure you know your place in this hierarchical system where wealth and power are the tools that load the system against the ordinary people. I have ordered the book.
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1 comment:

  1. Good morning,

    Excellent article. Hidden curriculum is something I heard in my college classes for two hours.

    It should have been a whole year class but Academics (College of Education) did not want to reveal one stratus of their own pyramid.

    Every beginning of the year there are new hopes and mantras shown to the teachers. It makes some teachers feel like their students and the silent revolt against administrators start. :)

    Some middle class parents complained when I call their sons "lazy/classist" or when they do not receive the education their "angel" deserves while they are surrounding by poorer students.