Low income and education

Essay by viperstingray July 2005

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This essay will consider if children from low income families are disadvantaged in the education system. It will examine if there is a direct link between poverty and low educational attainment. As far back as 1959 the Crowther Report identified a link between low incomes and low attainment levels. This was followed in 1963 by the Newsom report that found many secondary modern schools were deficient and argued that the less privileged 50 per cent of children did not receive their fair share of resources. (P Young, Mastering Social Welfare, p. 180) Recent research from the Institute of Education has shown that children from poorer families are no more likely to gain qualifications than they were a generation ago.

A study carried out by Barbara Jefferis, a research fellow at the Institute of Child Healthfound a strong link between social background and cognitive development. The research carried out found the gap between educational attainment between the richest and the poorest in society widened as time went on.

(The Guardian, August 9th 2002)

The British Medical Journal published a study in August 2002 that firmly points at poverty and social deprivation as some of the most significant factors why some children do less well than others. Nick Davis points out in his book, The School Report: he is not uncovering the unknown but exposing something that no one with any power will admit. The 'great unmentionable', Davis shows, is the direct correlation that exists between educational performance and poverty. (N.Davis, 2000)

David Miliband, the Minister of State for school standards, has stated that only 14 per cent of young people from lower income backgrounds go to university, compared to 75 per cent from more advantaged homes.

For some children the first step in education is nursery education. Although not compulsory nursery...