Our education list focuses on education policy and politics and the inequalities that are both built into education systems and perpetuated by them. It speaks to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education.
Our titles, including Stephen Ball’s The Education Debate, now in its fourth edition, address the challenges in education, including those around technology and the digital divide. The list offers students and researchers internationally sourced evidence-based solutions that challenge traditional neoliberal approaches to learning.
Patterns of ethnic segregation are affected by demographic processes changing the number of each ethnic group living and going to school in a particular area. Notably, the White British formed a smaller proportion of the secondary school aged population in England in 2017 than they did in 2010 because of a decline in the number of White British pupils against a rise in the number of other ethnic groups, except Black Caribbeans. However, nationally the number of White British (but not Black Caribbeans) in primary schools has increased. There are geographical variations in the extent of these changes, with places like Harrow, Redbridge, Newham and Luton seeing greatest percentage declines in their number of White British primary pupils. Nevertheless, many local authorities appear either to be ethnically diverse or are becoming more so.
The book has examined ethnic segregation between English state schools and whether it has increased or decreased over the years since the last major data collection – the national Census of 2011. It has found that high levels of ethnic segregation do exist across schools between the majority White British population and some other ethnic groups such as the Bangladeshi and Pakistani, more so at the primary than secondary level of schooling, and more for those of greater affluence amongst the White British. However, the general trend has been towards desegregation and greater ethnic diversity within local authority areas and their schools. Because school intakes are broadly comparable in their ethnic composition to the characteristics of their surrounding neighbourhoods so as neighbourhoods have become more diverse so too have schools.
Most of the focus of this book has been on ethnic segregation, reflecting the discourse found in the media and prominent in government policy documents. However, there is a strong intersectionality between social and ethnic dis-/advantage, which means processes of socio-economic separation are linked to patterns of ethnic segregation in ways that are not easily disentangled. The purpose of this chapter is not to try and do so but, instead, to look for evidence that within ethnic groups, and within a system of constrained school choice, the more or less affluent have different amounts of segregation from other ethnic groups, with this being related to the different types of school they attend. That evidence is found with those of the White British who are not eligible for Free School Meals generally the most segregated from / least exposed to other ethnic groups, with the effects of academically selective and some religiously selective schools contributing to the differences.
The English systems of school choice and allocation may result in greater ethnic segregation between schools than between neighbourhoods. This chapter looks at that proposition and asks to what extent school levels of ethnic segregation reflect neighbourhood ethnic composition, where do they not, and for which types of school are the differences greatest? It makes a simple comparison of the segregation between schools and between neighbourhoods then, acknowledging the limitations of that comparison, employs a more sophisticated analysis to compare the diversity of schools’ intakes with what they would look like under a hypothetical system without choice. In the majority of cases, intakes into schools reflect the neighbourhoods that surround them and are not dissimilar to what would be expected under a neighbourhood-based system of pupil allocation. There is little evidence that the current system of school choice raises ethnic segregation substantially.
There is an enduring belief amongst some that segregation is worsening and undermining social cohesion, and that this is especially visible in the growing divides between the schools in which our children are educated.
This book uses up-to-date evidence to interrogate some of the controversial claims made by the 2016 Casey Review, providing an analysis of contemporary patterns of ethnic, residential and social segregation, and looking at the ways that these changing geographies interact with each other.
The idea that ethnic segregation is growing in England is sometimes implied in Government-backed policy documents and reinforced by the media notwithstanding empirical evidence to the contrary. This chapter introduces how debates about segregation have been framed, reproduced and applied to what is happening within schools. It notes a tendency to present segregation as something due to minority groups despite those groups becoming more spread out and living in more mixed neighbourhoods.
The Casey Review cites a study by the think-tank Demos that shows the majority of ethnic minority students attend schools where ‘minority’ groups are in the majority. That statistic is correct but too easily misinterpreted. Only White British students typically are in a school where their own ethnic group forms a majority; for most ethnic minority pupils the largest group they will encounter at school is also the White British. The exceptions to this are the Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups, and more so in primary than in secondary schools. Nevertheless, the overwhelming trend is that schools are becoming more ethnically diverse with an increased potential for pupils to be educated alongside pupils of other ethnic groups.
Data about the school age population in Local Education Authorities provide contextual information about what is happening in terms of patterns of ethnic segregation at a broad geographic scale. In regard to the number of each ethnic group per local authority, the White British now have greater potential to be ‘exposed’ to other groups than they did in the past (to reside and be schooled alongside them) because the numbers of those other groups have grown. The reverse is not true, however, because the potential exposure of ‘minority’ groups to the White British has declined with their reduced number or lower growth rate compared to most other groups. All but ten authorities have a more diverse school age population overall.
This chapter looks at the sometimes contradictory ideas of fairness underlying particular current national and local education policy and practice and tries to assess implications for a fair education system. Flagship educational policies including efforts to tackle the attainment gap are considered, which draw on ideas of equality of opportunity and meritocracy. Policies that focus on choice, based on ideas of libertarianism and the extension of a marketised economy to education are also considered. Additional aspects of fairness which are not central to policy, but which are important to broaden current conceptions beyond distributive justice, are then considered, such as relational justice. The chapter concludes by suggesting seven principles of educational fairness as a way to operationalise both distributive justice and relational justice.
This chapter uncovers social injustice in the lives of urban older people in North East England by mapping their narratives of experience onto Iris Marion Young’s framework of oppression. Drawing on the voices of more than fifty older people across a broad range of age and circumstances the chapter uncovers the toll of unsupported care work; the impact of poverty of resources, of mobility and relationships; the corrosive effect of incivility and invisibility and the erosion of self esteem caused by powerlessness. How can older people be treated with parity and have their voices heard in arenas of power? The chapter concludes by outlining the work of the Elders Council in Newcastle upon Tyne to gain recognition and respect, while noting that it remains unclear whether this leads to transformation.