If common at schools all over Britain is

If it comes to class division there is evident connection
between family income and under-achievement and examination results. Children
from poor families suffer from material deprivation. Characteristic for this
group is non-attendance at school, poor housing (overcrowding, no space for
homework, disturb sleep from sharing bedroom, lack of space for playing) and
often health problems. It also means lack of resources (transport, uniforms,
books and computers) and poor diet. Poor nutrition and lack of vitamins affect
emotional, cognitive development and may increase behavioural problems.
Children from disadvantage families very often leave education too early
(usually at age of 16) in order to get a job as soon as possible (as result of
money struggles)(class resources). Hibbert et al also suggest that children’s
educational problems are linked with poor parenting as well as parents attitudes
to education and their own level of education. It is clear that social and
economic conditions result in underachievement in education. Schools in
deprived areas with problems of unemployment, poverty, crime and drug-abuse affect
child’s educational progress. According to Gibson and Asthana research (1999)
there is a correlation between family disadvantage (lack of parent’s
qualification, unemployment etc.) and unsuccessful results of GCSE (Browne,
2002 p.214,215).    

Another issue which is common at schools all over Britain
is ethnicity and their role in educational system. Ethnicity is a term use to
refer to the shared culture of a social group, which gives its members a common
identity (different from other social groups). In Britain minority ethnic
groups include African-Caribbean, Asian and Chinese (Browne,2002 p.9). To
investigate situation of ethnic minorities and education a government launched
Swann Committee in 1985 (Education for All). According to Swann report there
were significant differences in average level of educational success between
different ethnic groups. Black Caribbean children were the weakest and Asian
and white at the same level. However, Jones research (eight years later) shown change;
all minority group backgrounds were more likely continue education from age
16-19 compare with white background (only 37%). Data covered West Indians as 43
%, South Asians as 50% and Chinese 77%.

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 Another issue in
educational system in UK regards gender differences. In 1980s girls were less
likely to enter higher education compare with boys, but that changed and since
early 1990s they outperformed boys in all subject areas. By 2005 there were
seven times more females students in further and higher education than in 1970,
but only two and a half times as many males. However sex discrimination in
schools and higher education are common problem according to women’s
organizations (Giddens,2009,p.854,855,860). 

Other differences come from one parent families. In 2013
was around one million families without a father present in UK and this number
growing rapidly by more than 20.000 a year (Richardson,bbc,2013). According to
research (based on 14.000) children raised by single mothers display serious
behavioural problems (12%) compare to those who have two parents (6%) (Paton,
telegraph, 2010). This might influence performance at school, which have an
impact on child’s learning overall.

Most recent ‘picture’ of state of education in Britain
comes from EHRC report (2010). According to the Equality and Human Rights
Commission inequalities at schools in Britain relate mostly to race, sex,
poverty and disability. EHRC report underlined that bullying is a common
problem in a classroom, corridors and playgrounds of British schools. Two third
of young people have been bullied at some point during 2004-2006. This number
is even greater for children with special educational needs (SEN). EHCR report shown
that bullying include homophobic behaviour (1 in 3 pupils in secondary schools)
, cyber–bullying and bullying related to religious beliefs. As result children
who are bullied have worse GCSE (15 per cent lower than those who are not) and
are twice more likely to finish their education earlier than those who are not
affected. Black pupils of Caribbean descent are three times likely to be
excluded from school however the highest rate of exclusion was among Gypsy/Roma
children (Asthana, the guardian, 2010). Statistics show similar situation in
higher education system. According to the Higher Education Statistics Agency,
black students accounted for just 2.7% of Russell Group university students in
2010-11, which suggest that elite universities are not “meritocratic and
non-discriminatory” (Addo,the guardian,2017). 

The role of education and
achievement of students highly depends not only on sex and race, but teacher
approach too. Teachers are constantly involved in judging and classifying
pupils, from bright and ‘promising’ to ‘thick’, ‘lazy’ or ‘troublemaker’. Those
classifications and labelling by teachers have massive impact on performance of
students and may result as ‘halo effect’ (where student is stereotyped on the
basis of earlier impression). Often the social class of the students has
important influence on this evaluation. The effect of banding and streaming
students according to their ability might be harmful and result as division of social
classes (Browne,2004,p.223,224,225).  As
well as halo effect labelling, streaming and banding may result as a
self-fulfilling prophecy, where a teacher predicts progress based on the basis
of assessment. There are two types of prophecy a positive and a negative. Positive
prediction, made by teachers in fact improve achievement of pupils (higher
bands), whereas negative may deteriorate pupil’s achievement (lower bands).
This situation was shown in Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) in series of
experiments, where teachers were told that certain children have exceptional
abilities (but in fact they were no different than the others) and as effect
they improved their potential. Unfortunately educational system in Britain
works in the way that some groups are lead to success and other left to fail,
and this follows through into the jobs and careers (statement which agrees with
Marx’s views about education) (Barnard et al, 2004,p.160). Social class is
still a factor influencing whether a child does well or just opposite at
school.  

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