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Social Class

PS3 Social class

Mike Yule

on 17 September 2014

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Transcript of Social Class

Social class

What is it and how do you recognise it?
cultural deprivation
material deprivation
reinforcing stereotypes
self fulfilling prophecies
cultural capital
Carol Dweck
What's the current position?
UCL/Kings College research 2006
"overwhelming factor in how well children do at school is...their social class"
"Child's social background is a crucial factor in academic performance"
Beware the
"soft bigotry of low expectations"
EHRC: "How Fair is Britain?" 2010
Children from poorest families are only 1/2 as likely to achieve A-C GCSE grades...
1/4 if they're white/Bangladeshi/Black Caribbean
FSM children: 1/3 achieve 'good level of development' by age 5
1/2 otherwise
variety of theories to explain the persistent gap
inability to afford the things they need to gain success for their children
effects of low income on a home
good quality food
a quiet place to work
impact on emotions, so it affects attitudes to school
Middle class pupils tend to have a more positive outlook on school as a route to a good adult life
BUT...there are examples of schools, with materially deprived pupils who excel
"It is only because the majority of people in many affluent societies have come to be taught (and to believe) that a few are especially able, and others particularly undeserving, that current inequalities can be maintained" Dorling, 2011
Working class culture is "not as good"
popular, though controversial
lack parenting skills
lack ambition
can't delay gratification
(unwilling to make sacrifices for future gains)
restricted language codes
At root, "it's their own fault"
Pierre Bourdieu
W/C are victims of an unequal society
W/C home is less effective in transmitting the values needed for education success
the higher up the class structure a family is, the more of the dominant cultural values they possess
these dominant cultural values are reflected in education system/classrooms
the curriculum is rigged in favour of M/C and helps to maintain that dominance
there because they deserve to be
society is unfair
problem family
vulnerable family
W/c parents are ambitious for success, but don't know how to give practical help
processes in schools
Michael Wilshaw
Michael Gove
Social class
Social class and
educational outcomes

"Schools are part of the problem"
Gillborn and Youdell 2001
Schools can be (unskilled) or reluctant to engage with w/c parents
"intelligence is inherited"
"Chavitainment has reinforced the mainstream view of working class individuals as bigoted, slothful, aggressive people who cannot look after themselves, let alone their children..." Owen Jones
Is trend reversing?
"However, research published in 2007 by Leon Feinstein for the Institute of Education, found that by the age of 3 children from poor families were already lagging by up to a year in development compared to children from wealthier backgrounds."
As we've seen, that gap tends only to increase
"genetic factors"
Intelligence is not fixed at birth
It can grow - it can be stunted
It's a result of hard work, openness to criticism, preparedness to learn from mistakes, resilience
Beware stereotype threat!
Steele & Aronson, 1995
"My own view is that the most important thing you need to do in advancing social mobility is to deal with the failure in the school system..."
Michael Gove,
Independent, 22 Feb 2012
"The killer problem is
that there are a few schools with all the poor children in them...

but that poor children tend to do badly even if they go to good schools."
"It's all about the teacher"
Lax parenting and a celebrity-driven culture of instant gratification is forcing schools to act as "surrogate parents" for many pupils, the Chief Inspector of Schools has said. Sir Michael Wilshaw said many teachers were being asked to "make up for much wider failings within families" to ensure that their students knuckled down to academic work.
The Independent, 24.03.12
but 2x as likely to be excluded
1. Managers/Senior officials
2. Professional occupations
3. Associate professional + technical occupations
4. Admin + secretarial
5. Skilled trades
6. Personal service
7. Sales/Customer service
8. Process, plant and machine operatives
9. Elementary occupation
Police inspector
Teaching assistant
Head of a bank
Shop worker
Postal worker
Symbolic violence
Pupil Premium
£2.5 bn in 2014 -15 on disadvantaged children
How to spend?
Ability grouping?
One to one tuition?
Reducing class sizes?
Head of Bank- Police Inspector
Teacher - Doctor
Shop worker
Postal worker
Sutton Trust -EEF
Teaching and Learning Toolkit
Feb 2014
self perception
Mr Gove
Mr Wilshaw
most others
crystallised in "7 Myths about Education"
core knowledge
early start
spellings grammar
rote learning
but what about...
FT 30/09/11
Christopher Cook
"Poorer children close education gap"
NB Yes in London, not so much outside
(e.g. Portsmouth, South east coastal towns)
Is genius in the genes?
TES, 24.01.14
In the work of Pierre Bourdieu, symbolic violence denotes more than a form of violence operating symbolically. It is “the violence which is exercised upon a social agent with his or her complicity” (Bourdieu and Wacquant 2002, 167, italics in original). Examples of the exercise of symbolic violence include gender relations in which both men and women agree that women are weaker, less intelligent, more unreliable, and so forth (and for Bourdieu gender relations are the paradigm case of the operation of symbolic violence), or class relations in which both working-class and middle-class people agree that the middle classes are more intelligent, more capable of running the country, more deserving of higher pay. In terms of consumer culture, symbolic violence might be seen to be at work through the definitional characterization of some things (goods, tastes, lifestyles) as better than others and as accruing rightly to those who deserve them. ...
Steph Lawler Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture
Ofsted s. 5 inspections concentrate more
on attainment of FSM/poor pupils
In 2012
the proportion of all pupils achieving the required level in the tests taken at the end of primary school was 84%

but only 68% for those that qualify for the pupil premium
BBC 3/7/13
"Disadvantaged pupils' attainment is unacceptably low compared with their peers. Schools must shoulder the responsibility to reverse that, and the government must help them do that as well as hold them to account."
David Laws
Bright poor boys are around two and a half years behind their rich, clever male classmates in reading

Sutton Trust, 2013

Prioritise closing the gap, ensuring that every member of staff is fully signed up to the importance of this.

Study the evidence of what works and implement the strategies that are likely to be most effective in the context of the school. Use the Education Endowment Foundation toolkit and study excellent practice in other schools that are successful in closing the gap.

Train all the staff on the strategies to be adopted. Success won’t come without this.

Regularly collect and analyse data on the gap and target strategies at the needs of individual PP children.

Raise aspirations by working with the parents as well as young people.

Plan the curriculum so that disadvantaged young people leave school with the knowledge and skills they need.
Sir John Dunford
Effective use of the pupil premium is at the core of the moral purpose of school leadership. There are at least six things that schools can do:
Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion report
October 2013
"Children in lower-income families have worse cognitive, social-behavioural and health outcomes in part because they are poorer, not just because low income is correlated with other household and parental characteristics."
and it's a big but
Professor Plomin
Kings College, London
3.5m children grow up in poverty
25 poor students don't go to Uni
14 will not achieve 5 A* - C GCSEs
6 will leave illiterate + innumerate
In hypothetical class of 30 poor pupils...
time poor
the working poor
Would you have more
friends if you were
rich or poor?
Can you deserve
to be rich?
Can you deserve
to be poor?
Can you deserve to
be someone who
deserves to be poor?
Who is more likely to say,
“Money isn’t everything” –
rich people or poor people?
or rich?!
with thanks to Jason Buckley -
the philosophy man
Full transcript