Schools ‘failing hopes of poorer children’
PUPILS are being failed by a Scottish education system that does not help fulfil their ambitions, claim researchers.
Parents from all backgrounds want the best for their children, but lower-income families are less likely to know what is possible or how to achieve it, a study found.
The findings from the University of Stirling challenge the myth of a ‘poverty of aspiration’ among poorer families.
Dr Morag Treanor, senior lecturer in Sociology, analysed information on 3,500 young Scots and their families.
She said: ‘Children’s less successful progress in education is often blamed on their, or their parents’, poor aspirations.
‘Aspirations are seen as critical for closing the attainment gap between young people of high and low socioeconomic backgrounds.’
Dr Treanor added: ‘While the poverty of aspiration myth is allowed to perpetuate, it will continue to distract from the ways in which children living in poverty are failed by the education system. To close the attainment gap, schools should improve the everyday experience for poorer children, by educating teachers about poverty and using funds to support pupils and staff.’
The report, published by the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, analysed responses from the Growing up in Scotland study, which is tracking the lives of thousands of children and their families from birth through to the teenage years and beyond.
The SNP has faced repeated criticism for attainment levels in Scottish school children. Performance in literacy in P4, P7 and S2 has slumped since 2012.
Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said last night: ‘The SNP Government has failed over the last decade to make any real progress on this area.
‘That’s why it should take this useful contribution seriously and consider some of the recommendations proposed.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘We are determined to help every child achieve their potential, no matter their background or circumstances.’