Search

Education and ethnicity – Is the education system in the UK delivering or discriminating?

children services

In a review of educational attainment, policy think tank Curia investigates the relationship between ethnicity and educational attainment in the UK.

The present scenario

Education is the key to positive life outcomes. Accessible and affordable education is, from early years up to the age of 16, paramount in determining life chance privileges for individuals across areas of employment stability, financial security and better health and wellbeing outcomes. Not all children, however, are able to access the education that is essential in giving them a head start in life. It is now starkly visible that deprivation, which is prevalent across populations, poses severe roadblocks in achieving equality within social groups. Coupled with this, the devastating effects of the pandemic have worsened socioeconomic inequalities and significantly increased relative material deprivation, particularly in education attainment. In this scenario, with policy discourse reputed with mitigating but often exacerbating inequities, ethnicity-based educational deprivation has not received its due attention in policy intervention.

A report published in 2019 by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) highlighted the measures of relative levels of deprivation in small neighbourhoods, called Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOA) in England. It was glaringly visible that, of the most deprived 10% of neighbourhoods, 64% were concentrated within just eight local authority districts. These included the most deprived districts of Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds and Bradford. With education deprivation making up one of the markers, the severe impact of deprivation and disadvantage on children and young adults could not be ignored. Three years and a global pandemic later, the deprivation outcomes remain stagnant in most of these regions, while certain areas within them are now worse off, calling for better policy and legislation to reduce inter-regional disparities.

Current statistics in regional educational deprivation

While reducing regional inequalities is underway within the levelling up agenda, what warrants particular attention, however, seems to be hidden within aggregate city-level statistics that find their way into policy jargon. A deep dive into recent indices of deprivation within these cities, in partnership with data platform VUIT, shows a concerning trend of a disproportionate share of deprivation burdened by ethnic minorities, in particular, by Asian and Asian British minorities. Policy discourse has often made the mistake of homogenising ethnic minorities as one group and comparing them against dominant white majorities. What has become side-lined, are individual experiences of different communities—Black Asian, Asian British, etc. and particular neglect of children under 16 within these minority communities, whose needs are not adequately represented in policy action towards inclusive education and teaching resources.

Birmingham and Bradford

For average ranks in education, skills and training (EST) in LSOAs in Birmingham, LSOAs concentrated in the east and south east regions have the lowest average EST rank of 2500—with 1 being the lowest and 32.691 being the highest. These regions, not surprisingly, contain an average of 75% population that is Asian or Asian British while the White population is as low as 3.8% in some areas. This compares significantly to more prosperous regions in the north, where the proportion of the White population is a sweeping majority of 92% while the Asian population sits at 6.4%. What warrants the attention of policymakers, is that LSOA% under 16 deprivation statistics are significantly higher in regions with Asian and Asian British populations in dominance. The educational attainment of students within these areas, thus, becomes significantly lesser than those of their richer counterparts.

Bradford is no different, with LSOAs in the south east averaging an education rank of 1700—with some areas scoring as low as 791—indicating alarming levels of deprivation. Those experiencing this deprivation in the majority are 77% Asian, 7% Black and 16% White. A snapshot of educational attainment under 16 paints a grim picture in this region, compared with the north west, which houses an average of 97% White population, with LSOA under 16 being significantly higher among children belonging to Asian ethnicities as compared to Black and White ethnicities.

Cropped Birmingham
Image; Education deprivation stats via VUIT

To know more data and understand the implications of deprivation inequality, stay tuned for the second half of the article on Curia

Share

Related Topics

Latest

Plans for Diagnostics: NHS Screenings and Sunak’s Agenda

As long waiting lists for the NHS continue to persist, and people receiving diagnoses in adequate time has not reached its target, Sunak ventured on a campaign trail yesterday to trumpet new measures aimed at promoting timely diagnostics. This was to help ensure he can meet one of his top five priorities: cutting NHS waiting lists.

Hunt’s Bold Vision for the Economy

Hunt primarily proposed his bold vision for the economy and highlighted the value of investing in life sciences and the NHS especially during its time of crisis.

Video Features

Does Democracy Require Proportional Representation?

Marking LGBT+ History Month 2024

How Can We Make the UK the Greatest Place to Grow Old?

Why Should Women Stand for Office?

Subscribe to our newsletter for your free digital copy of the journal!

Receive our latest insights, future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Never miss an issue by subcribing to our newsletter!

Receive our latest insights and all future journals as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Newsletter Signup

Receive our latest insights as soon as they are published and get invited to our exclusive events and webinars.

Newsletter Signups
?
?

We respect your privacy and will not share your email address with any third party. Your personal data will be collected and handled in accordance with our Privacy Policy.