Sutton Trust, the leading social mobility charity, urges schools to implement targeted attainment improvement programmes for disadvantaged white British pupils.
Their latest report titled Class Differences: ethnicity and disadvantage found that white British boys eligible for Free School Meals have now been either the lowest or second lowest performing ethnic group every year for a decade. The Sutton Trust also found the attainment gap between FSM and non-FSM white British boys to be the second highest at 32 percentage points, with Irish boys in the lead displaying a 46 percentage points difference.
According to their research, white British pupils are the least likely to attend university after leaving school out of all ethnicities, excluding Gypsy/Roma. However, they have better rates of entering elite universities.
The Charity recommends the Education Endowment Foundation’s Teaching and Learning Toolkit to improve disadvantaged white British pupils’ outcomes. It also urges the Government to introduce a dedicated fund to support highly-able pupils.
Implement targeted attainment improvement programmes for disadvantaged white British pupils: Nearly two thirds of FSM-eligible pupils at GCSE are white British and their results are among the lowest, especially for boys. Schools should use the Education Endowment Foundation’s ‘Teaching and Learning Toolkit’ to improve this group’s outcomes, as recommended by the House of Commons Education Committee
Implement targeted attainment improvement programmes for poorly performing disadvantaged ethnic minority pupils: While ethnic minority performance has improved overall, some pupils from black, Caribbean and Irish backgrounds are still struggling. Previous targeted schemes, such as Ethnic Minority Achievement Grants, have been subsumed into the Direct Schools Grant. More need to be implemented, maintained and evaluated.
Create more opportunities for disadvantaged ethnic groups to supplement core lessons: Disadvantaged groups need support to engage in self-directed study, do sufficient homework, read more books and undertake educational trips – the extracurricular activities proven to provide academic and non-academic dividends. Enrichment vouchers should be made available to pupils, funded through the Pupil Premium.
Introduce a government fund to support highly-able pupils: The government should introduce a dedicated fund to support highly-able pupils. The fund would lever schools’ own spending in this area to encourage the development of cost effective programmes aimed at this often neglected target group.
Encourage more highly-qualified teachers to teach in deprived schools: Previous Sutton Trust research has shown that teachers in advantaged schools are more experienced than those in deprived schools. Polling of teachers finds that financial incentives and more free periods would attract teachers to deprived schools; incentives which could be facilitated through the new National Teaching Service.
SCHOOLS NorthEast is currently organising an event on the theme of white working class pupils. If you would like to register your interest in attending, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. More information will be made available in due course.