Azara Blog: Middle class pushed higher than working class in school

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Date published: 2007/09/10

The BBC says:

Children from working class backgrounds are being placed in lower sets than their ability merits, a study suggests.

Middle class pupils were more likely to be in higher sets, irrespective of their ability, research looking at 168 schools in England also discovered.

Half of the children were placed in sets on the basis of their ability - measured by test results at age 11.

The other half were grouped on a number of other issues, predominantly social class, an educational conference heard.
This was likely to be down to a complex range of interconnecting factors, she said, adding that it raised issues which were implicit rather than explicit.

But [ Professor Judy Sebba ] highlighted the fact that schools as a whole are likely to have a "middle class culture as an institution".

"Language, speech and all of that" will come into it along with parental pressure, she added.

Middle class parents are thought to understand the school system better and would therefore be more likely to push for their children to be taught in higher sets.

However, the team acknowledged that other factors such as teacher assessments, teacher judgements and pupil characteristics were also likely to influence set placements.

This is not very surprising, although it's only one study so the exact details should be taken with caution. And it's just the way the world works for obvious reasons. And you can guarantee that anything the government tries to do to "fix" the "problem" will just make things arbitrarily worse in other ways (or even the same way).

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