The post which follows was not written by me but is from a contributor. It relates to the Education Committee report issued on 22/6/21 How White working-class pupils have been let down, and how to change it which resulted from an earlier Inquiry by the Committee (Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds). Full report linked below.
These notes are intended as a brief for those in the men’s/families/healthy-society movements whose time does not permit them to read the entire document.
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes.
You are free to distribute this document, quote from it, use it in entirety so long as you intend to help men, boys, cohesive families and a healthy society in doing so. You are invited to put your own name to this work or any extract or compilation of it.
Summary of the synopsis
The report’s focus is on children who get free school meals, and primarily on those who are identified as White British.
The concept of “White Privilege” is tackled head-on and junked. Political ideology (unnamed) stated as having no place in schools.
The numbers of disadvantaged Whites getting a poor education is 39,000.
DoE is criticised for aimless spending on programs costing the taxpayer many millions each year.
Family cohesiveness brushed upon as a factor in quality of a child’s education.
Quality of teachers can make as much as three times better education.
End with a call for further focus on white males in further education.
Access to the Report
Paragraph numbers refer to the document. Some paragraphs may be mentioned out of sequence where the content is appropriate.
Text in italics is commentary on the Report, not from it.
1 & 2. It is made clear that the underachievement of White working-class pupils is not anything new but goes back to at least the early 2000s. “The gap has been evident for years, through changing national demographics and assessment systems…”
34 – 35. Points to a 2014 House of Commons report titled ‘Underachievement in education by white working-class children’ and the Department for Education lack of action.
4. Ethnicity and race are stated not to indicate “any inherent difference in ability or potential” of pupils.
9. “Disadvantaged pupil” is not used as a term to define educational disadvantage but to define the financial status of the parent (there is currently a statistical link between poor educational attainment and low parental income). Financial status of the parents is determined from whether the child is eligible for free school meals (FSM-eligible).
The difficulty with this terminology is that some pupils from wealthy backgrounds have poor educations, and some pupils from poor backgrounds have high educations. Any pupil with a poor education is disadvantaged, regardless of any other factors, but this can be overlooked by using the “disadvantaged pupil” terminology too freely and therefore applying correction measures inaccurately.
17. The report highlights that it focuses on “disadvantaged pupils” and admits that it “does not map exactly on to ‘White working-class’”.
This sounds far too much like the same kind of sloppy thinking that results in a report on violence against women not being just about violence, nor being only about what is done against women, yet still headlined as such.
18 & 19. The Education Department is criticized for not helping white disadvantaged pupils, for disguising data, and for making external scrutiny difficult.
23 – 25. The widespread use of the phrase “White Privilege” is carefully covered but clearly stated as possibly contributing “towards a systemic neglect of White people facing hardship…” Barnardo’s is a charity specifically named in context with report’s comment that “there is a risk of some “pernicious” ideology beginning to spread to organisations and charities that work with children.”
28. Highlight: “Our inquiry has shown that poor White pupils are far from “privileged” in education.”
29. Highlighted point that “Schools should consider whether the promotion of politically controversial terminology” meets legal requirements and that the Department should ” take steps to ensure that young people are not inadvertently being inducted into political movements”. Teaching should be provided in a “balanced, impartial and age-appropriate way.”
This is highly damning just from the need for just a paragraph. However, we should be aware that the men’s rights movement, family movements, and free society advocates could (also) be seen as a ‘political movement’ to which induction must be avoided by schools.
30. “Evidence highlighted the gender attainment gap.” The report makes it very clear that gender is a greater disadvantage than age or coming from a poor background.
Paras 30 and 31 are the only ones where the phrase ‘gender attainment gap’ (by which they clearly mean ‘sex attainment gap’) is used in the report. This report focuses on disadvantaged White boys and girls, with a later recommendation for an examination specifically into education for boys and young men.
32. Table showing GCSE results in each of the government’s pet ethnic groupings. Unfortunately this table does not give a breakdown between girls and boys, which it could easily have done so, since the source data it used provides the numbers. “FSM-eligible White British pupils as a whole are the largest disadvantaged ethnic group.”
There is little surprise to anyone familiar with the government report ‘The report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ (see empathygap.uk ‘Education UK: The Intersection of Race and Sex‘ for an analysis of that).
33. The numbers of white British pupils underachieving is highlighted: 28,000 did not come up to standard in early years, 39,000 White British FSM-eligible pupils failed to get a strong pass in the basic subjects of English and Maths.
40. Says the Department for Education has “fallen victim to muddled thinking, and has shown little interest in exploring why disadvantaged White pupils underachieve relative to similarly deprived peers.”
41 – 45. [The section on ‘The impact of covid-19’ is skipped, since it is clearly not about long-term issues. Domestic violence against children is mentioned. Mostly about mental health.]
46 – 70 [The section on geographical differences is largely skipped as not being the focus of this synopsis. Geography matters but, it would appear, not as much as sex.]
47. Hints at the advantages of family structure and cohesive social community, aspects which have been undermined for males and (particularly in cities) for whites.
55 – 57. Ten years ago, social commenters, political leaders, and a report like this might have talked of the need for equality in education. Today the language is ““levelling up” and supporting “left-behind” areas”. ‘Levelling up’ is used here in a specifically geographical manner.
66. The Department for Education is criticized for spending “another” £18m on ‘Opportunity Areas’. The funding is not well-defined, the previous amounts have done little (if anything) and there are no criteria by which to say if the money is used to fund programmes that are successful.
This sounds like normal feminist money-raising techniques. I have no idea about this area but feel I could almost predict the nature of where this money is going, what it is being used for, and the language used to justify it.
67 – 70. The Department for Education evidence is that free schools raise attainment. The report criticizes the Department for Education for not being proactive enough in the creation of free schools, particularly in areas of white deprivation.
71 – 72. Encouragement for more children to enter early childhood education and care (from the age of two).
This has very doubtful long-term advantages for white children, especially boys, given that they are indoctrinated from this age to have anti-family, anti-white, anti-male beliefs. Unfortunately, it probably will have measurable academic advantages for them, at least into their teens.
87. Highlights a need for health support improvements for disadvantaged White families.
92. Reports on Professor (Politics at Rutherford College) Matthew Goodwin pushing for an understanding of the role of family breakdown and of single-parent background in educational attainment.
94 – 95. Brings the intergenerational issue up. Poor white parents had a rough time at school, now they have a negative attitude being passed on to the children.
106. Generational problems mean that poorly educated parents don’t understand how to help their children. Some disadvantaged White families are now entering the third generation of ignored education.
108 & 109. The Department for Education has failed to act on a report indicating a need to educate poor people. This report highlights the need to help disadvantaged White parents to help disadvantaged White pupils.
100. Highlights the advantage of involved parents. Also highlights the advantage of Family Hubs to support families.
102. “The Department must ensure that disadvantaged White communities are a priority for support.”
103. Katie Sullivan of Regenerate UK reported as saying the “power of role models in our youth services is absolutely huge”.
This has long been recognised and Antonio Gramsci wrote in the 1930s of the need to subsume societies for the young and for the ‘elders’ who the children were guided by needing to be, effectively, communist.
111 – 116. Quality teachers are needed.
There is still no mention of levelling up the sexes in teaching, where there is an identified need for male teachers yet no programmes nor incentives for men to enter teaching.
117 – 130 [The section on school funding is not summarised as there is nothing very surprising and it is not linked to specifically male or family issues.]
134 – 136. The Report is not convinced that the Department for Education is doing anything/enough for disadvantaged White pupils, mentioning actions back to 2013 which have been unhelpful to their education.
141. Highlights the need for education to be considered in a wider context than just the academic, with technical and vocational subjects equally valid and taught/prepared for prior to age 16.
144. Highlights the need to address the falling apprenticeship rates in poorer areas, and to promote level 2 apprenticeships.
151 Mention of Secretary of State for Education having raised a need to focus on white boys on free school meals.
154. “The [Office for Students] should also commit to a report to Parliament in a year’s time to review progress against this measure and their targets and the Secretary of State’s request for a focus on disadvantaged White boys accessing higher education.”
This is strengthened in the last paragraph (41) of the Conclusions and recommendations which ends the report.