The Statistics of Pupil Segregation in England

DEMACK, Sean (2021). The Statistics of Pupil Segregation in England. Radical Statistics, 129 (129), 45-69.

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In the context of the 2020 exam 'debacle', this paper examines two statistical 'icebergs' that measure aspects of between-school and within-school variance in the English education system; participation in private education and the ‘the school effect’. These are 'icebergs' because they both display a superficial appearance of being relatively small but both have hidden, socially divisive, depths. The historical obsession with pupil segregation in England is discussed with reference to the disgraced psychologist Cyril Burt and more recent policy makers enthrallment by eugenicist beliefs. In terms of private schools, between 40 and 50% of pupils from families with greatest economic and cultural capital are shown to be privately educated compared with an overall average of 7%. In terms of the school effect, a majority of variance in pupil attainment is shown to reside at the structural level of school and (more importantly) classroom levels. In other words, the English education system is socially engineered so that grades are more determined by structural location than the efforts or agency of pupils or teachers. The analyses lead into a discussion of between-school and within-school pupil segregation. Finally, the paper calls for a new post-Covid ‘Spirit’ to de-engineer the system to unleash the talent, ability and potential of pupils, students and teachers.

Item Type: Article
Page Range: 45-69
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2021 13:29
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2021 13:30

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