At Last: Gove Goes For the Culture of Excuses
by Matthew Hunter
Our most ambitious state schools are successfully challenging the suffocating idea that social class determines educational success
https://standpointmag.co.uk/issues/apri ... e-schools/
In order to fulfil its professional responsibility, a school must strenuously resist taking on the sociological view. This is difficult when education departments in British universities turn out acres of paper every year reinforcing the message that socioeconomic background dictates success. What they show is undeniable: in the broad averages of large-scale longitudinal studies, social background does correlate with educational outcome. But schools deal with individuals, not averages. It is a school’s responsibility to do all it can to iron out such differences and never treat them as a foregone conclusion. Recent research suggests that there are more than 440 secondary schools where the average GCSE score for children on free school meals is above the national average. Taught well in a good school, poor pupils can succeed.
It is a paradox that idealistic educators in favour of social justice are seduced by the sociological view into accepting their own inability to achieve it. In today’s Britain, schools which use social background as an excuse for the underachievement of their pupils are the cause of a far greater deprivation than the social background itself.