An article examined the role of specific national contexts in determining the educational situation of migrants in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. In all the countries, a major part of the relative disadvantage could be explained by the social composition of migrants in combination with general patterns of social inequality in education: but in some cases significant differences remained even when controlling for such group differences.
Source: Steffen Hillmert, 'Links between immigration and social inequality in education: a comparison among five European countries', Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 32
The government began consultation on its proposed child poverty strategy for 2014-17. The paper said that good progress had been made to date and that the government remained committed to the target of ending child poverty in the United Kingdom by 2020. It said that actions would be taken to address the root causes of poverty and set out aims to: support families into work and to increase their earnings; improve living standards and reduce living costs; and raise educational attainment. It said that employers, local agencies, and the devolved administrations would have a part to play in achieving the aims of the strategy. The government also published an evidence review alongside the strategy, which examined the causes of poverty and the barriers faced by families in improving their position. The consultation would close on 22 May 2014.
Source 1: Consultation on the Child Poverty Strategy 2014-17, Cm 8782, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
Links: Consultation document | DWP press release | 4Children press release | Childrens Society press release | Citizens Advice press release | CSAN press release | Gingerbread press release | JRF press release | BBC report | Guardian report | Inside Housing report
Source 2: An Evidence Review of the Drivers of Child Poverty for Families in Poverty Now and for Poor Children Growing Up to Be Poor Adults, Cm 8781, Department for Work and Pensions, TSO
A report evaluated the construction of the Participation of Local Areas (POLAR3) classification, a United Kingdom-wide area-based measure that grouped geographical areas according to the proportion of young people living in them who participated in higher education by the age of 19 (known as the 'young participation rate'). It examined how the classification related to other forms of deprivation affecting young people, and how the characteristics of 2011-12 higher education entrants from different POLAR3 quintiles varied. The report said that, although concerns had been raised about the level of measurement, wards were a suitable geography on which to base the measure. However, the POLAR3 classification captured a particular type of (educational) disadvantage, and the report noted that it was therefore not necessarily an appropriate substitute for other measures of disadvantage.
Source: Further Information on POLAR3: An analysis of geography, disadvantage and entrants to higher education, Issues paper 2014/01, Higher Education Funding Council for England
An article examined the relationship between social class and attainment in the early years of schooling, drawing on the Millennium Cohort Study. It investigated the extent to which social class inequalities in early cognitive scores could be accounted for by parental education, income, family social resources, and parental behaviours. Social class remained an important concept for both researchers and policy-makers, and the link between structural inequalities and inequalities in children's cognitive scores could not be readily accounted for in terms of individual parenting behaviours.
Source: Alice Sullivan, Sosthenes Ketende, and Heather Joshi, 'Social class and inequalities in early cognitive scores', Sociology, Volume 47 Issue 6
A paper examined the long run impact of attending an elite school in the United Kingdom, drawing on data for children born in the 1950s and educated in Aberdeen, Scotland. It said that, for women, elite school attendance increased the probability of gaining A-levels by 23 percentage points, significantly increased income and wages (by 20 percent and 10 percent respectively) and significantly decreased completed fertility (by around 0.5 children). The paper said that, for men, elite school attendance had no effect on income, wages, fertility, or marriage. The paper noted implications for policy.
Source: Damon Clark and Emilia Del Bono, The Long-Run Effects of Attending an Elite School: Evidence from the UK, Working Paper 2014-05, Institute for Social & Economic Research (University of Essex)
A study examined the strategies used to raise aspirations for higher education among high achieving disadvantaged pupils, areas of good practice and where practice might be improved, and whether the pupil premium was being used to fund such activity. The report said that there was wide support in schools and colleges for raising aspirations, but that the study found a range of approaches and varied methods of defining disadvantage. It noted a lack of activity at Key Stage 3 (age 11-16), and low levels of evaluation and monitoring in around half of the institutions. The report made recommendations.
Source: Alex Thornton, Emily Pickering, Mark Peters, Carole Leathwood, Sumi Hollingworth, and Ayodele Mansaray, School and College-level Strategies to Raise Aspirations of High-achieving Disadvantaged Pupils to Pursue Higher Education Investigation: Research report, Research Report 296, Department for Education
An article said that educational expansion in Europe had enhanced inequality of opportunity for tertiary education among cohorts born in the 1950s and 1970s, and enhanced inequality of opportunity at the secondary level for the cohort of the 1970s. Privileged social strata were better poised to benefit from educational expansion than lower strata. Expansion was not necessarily an effective tool for the reduction of inequality of educational opportunity.
Source: Eyal Bar Haim and Yossi Shavit, 'Expansion and inequality of educational opportunity: a comparative study', Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 31
A study examined secondary schools' admissions criteria and practices in England in 2012-13 and the use of pupil banding as part of the Year 7 admissions process. The report said that the growth in the number of sponsored academies had not led to a corresponding increase in the use of selective oversubscription criteria. It said that distance and sibling criteria were the predominant oversubscription criteria for non-selective state schools, but the number of schools using banding had increased from 95 in 2008 to 121 in 2012. The Sutton Trust recommended that more schools, particularly in urban areas, should introduce random allocation (ballots) or banding to widen the mix of pupils with access to the most academically successful comprehensives.
Source: Philip Noden, Anne West, and Audrey Hind, Banding and Ballots: Secondary school admissions in England – admissions in 2012/13 and the impact of growth of Academies, Sutton Trust/London School of Economics
A new book provided a systematic review of how sociologists had studied the relationship between race/ethnicity and educational inequality in 18 different national contexts (including England).
Source: Peter Stevens and Gary Dworkin (eds), The Palgrave Handbook of Race and Ethnic Inequalities in Education, Palgrave Macmillan
A report examined the inequalities in access to, and outcomes from, state and independent schools in Britain. It outlined the nature of the inequalities, the efforts of governments, over time, to address them, and a range of evidence from other countries. It said that, within the state sector, middle class parents had gained privileged access to the best performing schools. The report made four proposals: that state schools should emulate the best features of independent schools; that independent schools should form links with state schools; that there should be state-subsidized places made available at independent schools; and that places at popular state schools should be means-tested, with parents who earned over £80,000 per annum paying fees on a rising scale.
Source: Anthony Seldon, Schools United: Ending the divide between independent and state, Social Market Foundation