minority ethnic children in the education system

The Differences In Educational Achievement By Ethnicity

The Way Sociological Theories In Educational Inequality Help In Understanding Educational Experiences And Achievements Among Ethnic Minority Students.

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Introduction. 4







2.1 Class and educational inequality. 10

2.2 How gender manifest itself in educational inequality. 12

2.2.1        Discrimination Against women in Literacy and Education:-. 13

2.2.2 Intersectionality and resilience. 14

3.0 Methodology. 16


4.0 Result findings. 17

4.1 Education desire and identity formation. 17

4.2 Family life. 20

4.3 Ethnicity and achievement in education. 22

  1. CONCLUSION.. 28

Reference List 32


The relationship between educational and social inequalities and opportunities is one of the most fundamental issues in the sociology of education. Uniting its core theoretical concerns, research interests and its broader uses in public debate and policymaking. But education is not simple. It is doing different things in different ways for different groups, and is influenced by a diversity of forces. Inevitably, many of these will be contradictory. For instance, the demand that education promote equality of opportunity may conflict (for some) with the need to preserve standards of academic excellence or the value placed by liberal educators on developing the ‘whole person’ with the demand by others that education meet the needs of the economy. This chapter explores a set of problems associated with educational and social differentiation and the various ways in which they have been accounted for across a range of perspectives. The focus is upon factors associated with the education system itself and with educational processes. There are obvious reasons why sociologists, educators, policymakers, and others should see these things as being of primary concern.  It is within schools that the work of education gets done. How we organize the school system determines not only the quality of children’s educational lives, but also influences those broader objectives sought through education. Another reason why educational structures and processes are given privacy is that they are open to direct intervention by policy-makers and educationalists. It is harder to affect external relations and factors such as those between education and the labor market or family. However, the conclusion reached in this chapter is that the explanatory scope of school-related factors alone is limited and that they need to be located within a wider social framework if we are to understand more fully how education works within society. But this carries the possibility that educational change in itself might have only limited effect. Issues of differentiation have become increasingly complex as a result of the multiplication of social differences taken into account with the introduction of gender and ethnicity alongside class. This is associated with a proliferation of explanatory approaches–in the contributions of feminism, for instance. Hence, it is necessary to look at what needs explaining and how within a variety of approaches applied to different facets of educational and social differentiation. This complexity has been further complicated by post-modern approaches that reject broad categories such as class and gender in favor of more nuanced and multidimensional models of self, identity and difference


This dissertation paper aims at looking at the continued inequality in the school experiences and the outcomes of the Caribbean students. The paper will deal with the minority ethnic children in the education system which is a major problem. The paper will have a literature review which will focus on the policy discourse, school attainment, and the contexts. This will show the way students from small ethnic groups like the blacks have low outcomes than their peers. The paper will proceed to look at the research methods where I will use secondary data obtained from analysis of interviews done to young people with the experience of school exclusion. The case study was done in London where students were excluded from attending independent schools. After this, I intend to look at the result findings where I will discuss the education desire and identity formation. I will also incorporate the parenting and family role in success, as well as the grass-root citizenship and community solidarity and their very possibilities. The paper will then have a conclusion that will summarize the entire case study.


Educational inequality refers to the lack of equal opportunities that people have as a result of disparities in quality of education or other factors. However,  people have the same opportunities from when we start school, hence its up to the individual to decide what they want to do within the educational framework and as a result they argue out that each individual has the chance to do use education to their advantage, on the other hand, it is important to note that not all people have equal opportunities of getting better education by being able to afford private tuition and private schools hence outlining the fact that inequality in education  still exist within  our educational framework today.

The major function of education is the transmission of society’s norms and values. He maintained that Society can survive only if there exists among its members a sufficient degree of homogeneity; education perpetuates and reinforces this homogeneity by fixing in the child from the beginning the essential similarities which collective life demands (social trends, 1994). A vital task for all societies is the welding of a mass of individuals into a united whole, in other words the creation of social solidarity. This involves a commitment to society, a sense of belonging and a feeling that the social unit is more important than the individual. Durkheim argued that education, and in particular the teaching of history, provides this link between the individual and society. If the history of their society is brought alive to children, they will come to see that they are part of something larger than themselves: they will develop a sense of commitment to the social group.

Education is seen as a means of role allocation, but they link the educational system more directly with the system of social stratification. Social stratification is seen to be a mechanism for ensuring that the most talented to those positions which are functionally most important for society. High rewards which act as incentives are attached to those positions; this means that all will compete for them and the most talented will win through.  Education system is very necessary when it comes to this process. In Davis’s words,

“it is the proving ground for ability and hence the selective agency for placing people in   different statuses according to their capacities”

Thus the educational system shifts sorts and grades individuals in terms of their talents and abilities. It provides rewards to the very talented students who have high qualifications, which later provide entry to the occupations that are identified as the most important in the society.

According to symbolism interactions theorist explanations of differential achievement that we have examined so far all suggest that pupils’ progress in education is strongly influenced by factors over which individuals have little control. Intelligence as well as home background has been presented as the ones that determine the pupils’ performance within the system of education. Yet the very obvious place one can get the explanation of achievement in the differential educational is only in the educational system. None of the previous approaches is based upon an examination of schooling, but it is widely assumed that schools play an important part in determining educational success and failure. Most of the parents spend quite a lot of money so that their young children can attend schools. They do so in the effort of ensuring that their children have better education.

Before the establishment of comprehensives many parents were also anxious that their children gained a place at grammar schools, assuming that this would prove advantageous for their children. Supporters of the comprehensive system hoped that when all children in state education attended the same type of school, class inequalities in educational achievement would be greatly reduced. This did not happen. Despite comprehensives, class inequalities remain, and this has led to an emphasis on examining the differences in treatment that pupils receive even when they are attending the same school. Interactionists have illuminated the processes within the education system that result in different levels of achievement. It is interactionists, far more than any other type of sociologist, who has researched into the details of day-to-day life in schools.

Psychologists and sociologists have explained performance in the education system in terms of intelligence, cultural and material deprivation and social stratification. All these approaches are, from the interactionist point of view, deterministic; that is, they see human behavior as directed and determined by forces beyond the control of the individual. Individuals are held to react in a predictable way to external stimuli such as the directives of subcultures or the pressures of stratification systems.


Ethnicity, class and gender have always been a source of inequalities, especially in education that past sociologist base their theories on.  These inequalities have continued to manifest themselves today within our society in various sectors like government structures within different countries and lack of educational resources. The educational resources have always contributed to the marginalization of some ethnic groups thereby contributing largely to educational inequality within the society today.




To identify how class contributes to educational inequality within the society today

To find out how educational inequality is manifested in gender within the society today

To determine the role of ethnicity in educational inequality today



In what ways does class contribute to educational inequality?

How does educational inequality manifest itself in gender?

What is the role of ethnicity in educational inequality in the country?


The study is aimed at providing a basis for making education affordable and accessible to all within the society today irrespective of gender, class or ethnicity.



The information was collected from the secondary data a case example of young students from London and Nottingham. (Wright,  2012). The researcher considered all subjects within that area of study who were between the ages of 14 and 19 who had experienced permanent school exclusion, they were drawn from both private and public schools within that given field of study and Additional data are provided from over 60 interviews with contacts nominated by the young people, including community and social workers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends.


The enduring inequalities experienced by black students in schools in England have been extensively documented (Wright et al., 2000). The literature shows that black students attain persistently lower outcomes at age 16 than their white peers.  Recent reviews of research indicate that black children commenced their schooling with high ability and show themselves to be capable students but, as they get older, their achievements decline (Wright, 1987a;; Rhamie, 2007).  Although black students persistently achieve lower outcomes at age 16, in 2007 their outcomes were slightly higher than those of children of Pakistani origin. The variation in educational achievement (particularly for black male students) is also linked to high exclusion (or suspension) rates (Wright et al., 2010). The explanations and responses to the plight of black students within the British education system is said to be;

“Within general educational discourse black children’s schooling experiences and underperformance have been ascribed to; inter alia, deficits, cultural differences and family practices…. Moreover, the discourse in Britain concerning black children as a            problem to be managed is also reflected historically and contemporaneously through social policy. For example, social policy initiatives employed to respond to black children           in British schools have taken the form of assimilation to the current ‘color-blind’ approaches which have entailed the erasure of ‘race’ from policy…” (Wright,  2010).

Further, Tomlinson (2008) has argued

“Although there have been some positive legislative and policy developments,      particularly the use of civil law and human rights legislation to penalize racial     discrimination, the education system over the past 50 years has developed within a socio-political context in which there has been a lack of political will to ensure that all groups             were fairly and equitably treated”.

In relation to the evident continuing discrimination and racial inequality prevalent in education, and more widely in contemporary British society, attention is drawn to the neoliberal and management directions of policy within the education sphere (Ball, 2008; Tomlinson, 2008).

2.1 Class and educational inequality

Recognizing the multidimensional character of identity and position increases the question: Are some dimensions more fundamental than others? Is class more fundamental than gender or ethnicity? If so, an explanation would adopt a reductionist form in which ethnic and gender and status differences would ultimately dissolve into class differences. Feminists adopting a standpoint perspective, however, hold that gender requires a distinct body of theory and concepts qualitatively different from those of the ‘male’ theory of class, and that ‘feminist method’ is different in kind from ‘male’ method .For them, theories and methods are constitutively gendered and, hence, radically discontinuous and incommensurable.

In defense of the priority of class, the difference that sets class inequality apart from both gender and ethnic inequality. This is that, in the public sphere and in general principle alike, the latter two operate in large measure through the former. Inequalities between men and women, between blacks/browns and whites–for that matter between Catholics and Protestants in a Protestant dominated society–come to major expression as inequalities of class; but not vice versa. As he points out, ‘women experience their social subordination especially though not only by way of poor placement in the structure of class’ and similarly for blacks. To make this point is not to return to class reductionism (class inequalities and modes of discrimination do not exhaust those of gender and race), but to note an important asymmetry in the relation between these inequalities so as to view their relationships as interactive and relational rather that as ‘conceptually parallel dimensions of inequality’ associated with paradigmatic differences in theory and method. Within the American context, there have been a similar observation about the class and race relation but makes a different point in order to explain the persistence of racial inequalities in education. He constructs a set of careful distinctions to define the specificity of ‘racial stratification’ as separate from class. He argues that although social inequality is universal, social stratification is not. Stratification occurs when groups are defined by certain criteria (e.g. color, sex), then ranked relative to each other, and individuals are treated according to group membership. He defines stratification in this way: A stratified society is a society in which there is a differential relationship between members of its constituent groups and the society’s fundamental resources, so that some people (e.g. white Americans), by virtue of their membership in particular social groups, have almost unimpaired access to the strategic resources, while some other people (e.g. black Americans), by virtue of their own membership in other social groups, have various impediments in their access to the same strategic or fundamental resources. In addition, the different social groups in the hierarchy are separated by cultural and invidious distinctions that serve to maintain social distance between them. In a stratified society there is usually an overarching ideology, a folk or/and scientific ‘theory’ embodying the dominant group’s rationalizations or explanations of the hierarchical ordering of the groups.

Subordinated groups do not necessarily accept the rationalization of the system; however, they are not entirely free from its influence. Stratification can occur without class (e.g. in pre-industrial societies), and class does not necessarily entail stratification (as distinct from social in-equality). Individuals can change class, but in a racially stratified society cannot change their colour and what that entails. Strata membership is assigned on the basis of ascribed (assumed intrinsic) characteristics, whereas class membership is achieved and marked by external characteristics (such as socioeconomic status). Strata contain classes (e.g. middle-class black Americans), but those of the inferior strata are not continuous with the same class in the dominant group. A black American can achieve a high class status, but still suffer the consequences of racial stratification and be segregated from whites.

2.2 How gender manifest itself in educational inequality

In India over the last half-century has seen the rise in salience of hitherto ignored inequalities in traditional formulations of the social sciences class and poverty cultural handicaps and linguistic disadvantages had in addition to a much less emphatically started rural-urban differentiation. For long it has been recognized as the cause as well as effect of educational disadvantage women. Backward castes and untouchable castes and Tribe should always been known to be educationally disadvantaged, but were overlooked in academic  discourse, given the prevailing social ethos, the weak social and political position of the groups concerned and possibly non  unrelated the state of the art in the social sciences themselves, for comparable opposite reason now the terms of the question have changed and a turn, almost unbalanced in its magnitude and quality: has taken place in the direction of gender, caste and ethnicity as the material and salient factors. In what follows, an examination of the matter is attempted in the light of some relevant facts of pre-and post Independence history

Despite all efforts in 1990, these were 948 million illiterates in the world a figure which has not changed substantially since 1985. If efforts to deal with the problem are not intensified projections for the year 2000 indicate at best only a very slight decrease. Due to rapid population growth, poverty and politico-economic reasons, the number of illiterates is increasing continuously in the world. Normally in developing countries, the proportion of women literates is less that of literate men. Girls receive less health case and food than boys. A study in Bangladesh showed that 14% of girls as against 5% of boys are malnourished. Women typically work more but they are paid less compared to men they also mostly work in format sectors where pay levels to be power.

2.2.1        Discrimination Against women in Literacy and Education:-

Rapid population, Growth, poverty and certain political and economic mechanisms in society all linked to incomplete coverage of primary education for school age children, are at the root of the constant increase in the absolute no. of illiterates in the world. It is a fact that more women than men are illiterate, and there are many reasons for this. In most societies women have lower status than men. From childhood on they have less access to education and sometimes in food and health care as adults not only do they frequently receive less education but worth longer hours have lower incomes and little or no access to ownership of property. Even when the motivation is these, formidable obstacles remain. Foremost among them is probably Lack of time. The traditional or new roles that women fill rarely have them enough free time to devote to full-time or even part-time educational activities, fatigue, frequent or early pregnancies. Caring for child and families agricultural and cultural activities and formal and informal employment are among the many reasons for lack of time. This heavy work hood is reflected in the high rate of absenteeism and drop-out of women from literacy activities. The same reasons apply to girl’s schooling.

Organizational problem male instructions mixed-gender classes considerable distance between home and the education centre lack of transport, evening courses and cultural clashes between instructors and participants are also constraints to women’s full participation in educational activities. Women’s education plays an imp role in children especially in relation to infant mortality levels. A study carried out by the research Triangle Institute (1990) in 80 developing countries indicated the an increase of 70  percent in girl’s enrolment in primary school together with a comparable growth in secondary education would after 20 years result in a decrees in the infant mortality rate of 20 per 1,000 live births. Such primary and secondary education for women would contribute to continuation of this decrease over and above other relevant development inputs such as increased per capital income level of urbanization.

2.2.2 Intersectionality and resilience

Intersectionality aims at opposing the feminist work of homogenizing the situations of women. (Yuval-Davis, 2011). It involves integrating the analysis of systems involved in oppression and the intersection of race, gender, and social class in the black women lives. The approach looks at the way gender, class, race and others intersect so as to affect the lives of people and their social behavior. Crenshaw, (1989) talked of the term intersectionality while discussing the employment of black women. There was frequent use of this concept especially in the feminist work in the ay women are placed to be women and as a class of black women among others. The attempt aimed at avoiding reduction of women to a single category every time. This led to treating the so called social positions just like relational. One should note that intersecting the various dimensions of class, gender and race may lead to penalties or even privileges. This depends much on the positioning. Race is said to be gendered while gender is said to be racialised. What is supposed to be white male working class is far much different as compared to the black male working class. The minority groups and the blacks have come across the discrimination patterns without considering gender or social class.

Intersectionality is seen to be a proxy of the stratification theory. Social stratification connects to separate hierarchical locations in groups or even in individuals on the grid of power in the society.  Yuval-Davis (2011) outlines the essence of the stratification theory when it comes to intersectionality. The debate on the relationship between education and power structure continues.  The approach of intersectional stratification may be in a position of coming out with the understanding of this kind of problem. A theoretical framework that deals with the interaction between “habitus” and capital or resource forms is used. The capital notion to the education concept highlights the way inequalities in social class is produced in the after compulsory education and in schooling. For instance, money as well as the capital economic forms are important in reproduction of inequalities of education. This is because they can be used in purchasing certain forms of mobility and advantage. They could also be deployed in protecting costs, fixity as well as risks (Archer et al, 2007) The social capital shows the forms of the connection and social participation like the groups, facilities, communities and networks. Culture capital on the other hand is the increase in culture knowledge. Ability and skills that an individual possess or are inherited by a group of people who are privileged, the credentials that the elite groups and employer uses as a method of arbitrarily and unfairly screening out people and subordinate groups from certain social groups and privileged jobs. While using the analysis attention of Bourdieu, it has been brought to show the way middle class defend and generate the so called privileged positions.  This is as a result of their deployment of symbolically legitimated, social and cultural economic forms. These are used to negotiate successfully with the educational markets. Capital in education is formulated in regard to the white communities. Therefore one is required to be very keen while extending the notion to these back communities.

The issue for instance on the low attainment of the black people in school is odd when put together with post compulsory experience in school. In this view, it is evident that black students who have GCSE results below or within the median have high likely hood of attending the higher education as compared to white students with the same results. Material factors are very much significant as compared to cultural factors when it comes to education failure in the working class. Even if the factor has some truth for the black families, the quest they have of a good life which is to be achieved through acquiring good education is paramount without looking at the class.  When discussing the experience of the established Caribbean community living in Britain one needs to note that the debate takes place with the regard of the way black community tries to respond and engage the race inequalities especially to education (Goulbourne, 2002).

 3.0 Methodology


This chapter highlights the way the secondary research was done. The research involved use of books, journals and articles which have information about ethic inequality and education systems. An example of the research was one that was done by Wright, (2010).  The research was done to young students were obtained from London and Nottingham. The method of reflexive thinking provides the black feminist people doing the research with intersection understanding of class, race, gender as well as age in the process of research (Reynolds, 2005) and social aspects of high education and advice on the matters concerning the best careers to take.


The research will make use of secondary data where I will combine both qualitative and quantitative research methods.  I intend to use the books, articles and journals which are available and have the information concerning the education inequality and achievements as a result of gender inequality, ethnicity and class.


The recommendations from this study will be used as a basis for implementation and change in structure of the educational framework today so as to curb out educational inequality within the society today.


Since this research is purely an academic process, a letter of acknowledgment to carry out the research is to be granted from the various institutions involved.

4.0 Result findings.

This paper aims on the ways the ethnic groups such as the blacks work hard in transforming the school experience.  It tries to build on the ‘grass root’ notion, civic citizenship, identifying the way agency, challenge and resistance as  well as individual responses  are connected to opportunities and resources that are available through the so called institutional relationships like the family, community organizations and kin.  The analysis has provided a new insight of the students’ aspirations in education, circumstances in life which is involved in informing the attainment of schooling or the educational experiences.

4.1 Education desire and identity formation.

The main issue that came up in the study was the way the ethnic community being given the name failures converted it into the need to have a positive outcome in education. In a study of the black adolescent boys in the US, Harding (2010) discussed the notion of “redemption and recovery” like denoting an individual of very humble background able to achieve success. This is as a result of ingenuity and hard work. This idea has really spread in America. It is a come back from personal failure or setbacks. The main ideas in the “turn around” idea are identifying errors that have been made previously such as street crime and addiction, getting rid of places and people who lead to the problems, be fully involved in churches, school and community programs, be independent economically by having a family and work and also identifying the importance of having the education qualifications that help in changing lives. The turn around narrative is, therefore, an idea of impacting change in the life of an individual and having the urge to change. The study, therefore, looked at the way the youths were engaged in utilizing the narrative.

The narratives of the ethnic people such as the blacks are filled with the notions of individual agency, culture, community responsibility and subjectivity. The narratives they hold suggest the reason as to why even after low achievement at sixteen years, the young people participate in higher education disproportionally. The motivating factor of social progression in the attainment of education is evident because of the idea that even as the minority ethnic communities are responsible for 8% of the youths aged between 18 to 24 years living in Britain, they double this when joining the university.

The graph below shows the GCSE results of five and above A* to C grades (School portal, 2013).


National Equality Panel noted that people from the ethnic groups having GCSE results are very likely to proceed to higher education as compared to white British students possessing same results. According to Mirza (2006), University students already working want to occupy positions that are more improved as compared to the ones their parents hold. She continues to explain that to the black community, the education urgency can be said to be a racialised process. While looking at the working class Caribbean women, she identified that when they were on the ground, they had the desire to climb onto the career ladder. They tirelessly worked for academic success and obtained the qualifications. Their motivation not only came from the desire of the credentials in education, but also the educational urgency. This was a desire to be able to succeed even with all odds in place. The education in this kind of sense became “transformative mantel.”

4.2 Family life

According to research in the article earlham sociology papers ( 2013), the parental interest of the ethnic minority groups to the education of their children shows that an average of 1500 parents who were likely as compared to a sample of the UK population  to have the feeling of  being involved in the education of their children. 82% of the parents were

The families are very important in providing resources for identity formation. In Britain for example, black family has been stereotyped because it lacks values that are likely to bring in success in education. However, parents in the middle class in the Caribbean heritage were found to be very much involved in the education of their children outside the school. Together with professionals in the middle class, they draw onto social networks so as to give their children a positive representation. They also want to offer advice and assistance to their children. These parents involve their children in extracurricular events and touring. Some of the activities the children participate ion are sports, music, black mentoring, youth organizations and drama. The activities are said to be interventions which have demonstrable impact when it comes to attitudes, behavior, and aspirations of these children. This relates to the participation and attainment of academic excellence (Cummings et al, 2012).

These result findings are in line with the ones of the study done by Rollock et al (2011). Young blacks unanimously agreed on one thing. They were supported by their parents as they were advised on the ways of succeeding in achieving education and tackling racism. They believed that the strategies had served like a driving force in participation and education aspirations. They also felt like they were one team. Most of the youths said that the negative experiences in education together with the family support and the urge to be successful made them improve a lot in the familiar relationships. Their parents believed in them and were an inspiration to them

“My father believed that I could make it and guided me on the way to move forward.       They were always available for me….” (David)

According to the findings, it is therefore evident that the parents had a big role to steer their young people in becoming successful academically. This was made possible by employing several strategies like effective capitalization socially which was developed in the family networks. The mothers fro example offered emotional support in the success of their children academically. This transferred to the success in social prestige and education (Reay, 2000).

The following graph shows the comparison of the Exam success and race. (Baker, 2002)

According to the research, it has been seen that students who come from areas where there is a lot of poverty tend to underperform as compared to those from other areas. For example students from Bangladeshi are the lowest in the exam success. Other issues that may affect the results could be discipline and also motivation from the people surrounding them.The issue of discipline affects mostly the boys who tend to engage themselves in drugs and other activities.  Bangladeshi and Pakistani have shown a lot of improvement as they have risen with more than 5%. India has also improved by showing 5 passes (Baker, 2002).

4.3 Ethnicity and achievement in education

The information given below is obtained from a study of Youth Cohort for students aged 16 years. It shows the education achievement trend at the GCSE level. This was done between the year 1989 to 2004. This was according to students’ ethnicity that was estimated according to sample basis that ranged from 24922 to 13,698. (earlham sociology papers, 2013).

Year 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Weighted sample 14116   14511 24922   18020   15899   14622   13698   16707   14003
Percentage of the group defined at each row                                
White 30   35 37   43   45   47   50   52   55
Black 18   19 23   21   23   29   29   36   34
Asian 29   26 33   36   38   45   48   52   55
  • Indian
n/a   n/a 38   45   48   54   60   60   72
  • Pakistani
n/a   n/a 26   24   23   29   29   40   37
  • Bangladeshi
n/a   n/a 14   20   25   33   29   41   45
  • Other Asian
n/a   n/a 46   50   61   61   72   64   65


This data show that attainment of the ethnic groups shown have gradually improved though the ethnic inequalities in the achievement of education have remained. One thing that is evident about the ethnic minority communities is that they are very well represented in the UK. This is as compared with the general population. In the year 2007 and 2008, sixteen percent of the students studying degree from UK came from Asian and black community minority backgrounds. This was an improvement as compared to the 14.2 % students of the age bracket of between 18 to 24 years. The reason as to why the minority students underachieve when it comes to education is because of the educational disadvantage, which is very much related to the ethnicity. Even if the ethnic minorities are from Afro Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistan, the students are very much to be seen in the low parts of working class. This means they will also experience poverty. The social theorists define poverty as a situation where people have an income that is below 60% of UK median income. Now that most of the ethnic minority people are likely to be in the poverty line, they experience the class disadvantage because they tend to be located in the low working class sections (earlhamsociology papers, 2013).

According to research done by Wright (2012) on the community solidarity, the findings showed that the youths have involved themselves with organizations that are community based that offer work ethos. Black identity and self worth. One individual commented that:

“ISSP have been of great help to me as they do not want me in the streets. They make me             think of better things to do.”

The encounter with black professionals still rings on their minds. This was meant to challenge the negative picture of the masculinity in blacks by bringing up the positive identity towards self. The boys were encouraged to move out of the negative stereotypes by offering education and emotional support to them. One of them commented that;

“..It made me think a lot about myself and move away from arrogance. I had to make a     decision on the way forward. I was given advice and support.”

The research done by FSR (2013) shows that the percentage of the students obtaining 5 and more GCSE in grade A* or equivalent together with mathematics and english  IGCSE or GCSE have continued to differ in the various ethnic groups. For example, the Chinese students are the highest with 17.6 % points which is above the average of the national.  As this percentage of the Chinese increase in the year 2007 to 2008 and also 2010 to 2011. It reduced by a percentage of 2.2 in the year 2011 to 2012. This led to a narrowing of 4.1 % gap between the Chinese students obtaining 5 and more GCSE in grade A* or equivalent together with mathematics and english  IGCSE or GCSE as well as the national average of the year 2007 to 2008 and 2011 to 2012.

Another example is the students from the black community. They have remained to be the lowest performers. The percentage of students obtaining 5 and more GCSE in grade A* or equivalent together with mathematics and English IGCSE or GCSE is about 4.2% points which is lower than national average. The margin has widened with a 0.4% points from 2010 to 2011. It has however narrowed with a 3.3 % points from 2007 to 2008. The students from Asia on the other hand have performed better as compared to the national average students of the Asian background. They have  the students from the Asian background have improved by 3.9% points and those from mixed background have 1.0% points. With every wide ethnic group, the actual ethnic group has shown more variability. The Chinese students have remained the best achieving ethnic group

According to the research, it is evident that lone parenthood is very much seen in the Black Caribbean and also in White families as compared to the Chinese and Asian families. Students who have English as the first language have high chances of succeeding in school as compared to the others. Also teenage rebellion is very high in Caribbean boys as compared to Chinese and Asian boys. This is an implication that the sub cultural factors really influence the underachievement of education(earlhamsociology papers, 2013).

The organizations that are community based have highlighted the community, capital, social and cultural impacts on the black people aims of achieving progress. The evidence shows the way organizations that are community based in the black community offer social capital in form of the connections especially to the organizations dealing with the young people. It was noted that the work of the  organization with the youths include strategies in the social progress, providing a pro active approach in evaluating the opportunities in education, having activities that are aimed in developing a cultural identity, constructive racial and also focus on obtaining success through transformation of individuals (Wright et al, 2010).

4.4 Language

Student from the minority communities face a lot of cultural challenges which tend to undermine the prospects of education. One of them could be the fact that in the Asian community, English isn’t their language.  Also the Caribbean people use the Patois and Creole in speaking and also writing. These are not Standard English. The frequent use of these languages may make them not able to understand the formal language. This may make the students from these communities fail to understand questions as well as answer the questions in a manner that the examiner will understand (earlhamsociology papers, 2013).

When we compare the achievement of the students  whose language is English, an average of 59.2 percent were able to perform better as compared to those who have a different first language. This is because those who performed better with their first language not being English were about 56.2 percent. This is correct for the average percentage achieving of the 5 and above GCSE in the A* and C grade or equivalent. This is the opposite of what happened in the year 2010 and 2011 when those students who performed better were the ones who had a different language other then English.

The gaps in first language attainment in the year 2007 to 2012 where English is first language and also where English is not the first language is shown below (SFR, 2013).

  2007-2008 2008-2009 2009-2010 2010-2011 2011-2012
5 and above GCSE at A* to C and its equivalent 2.0 1.2 0.2 -0.4 0.5
5 and above GCSE at A* to C grade and its equivalent Together with mathematics and English IGCSEs and GCSE. 3.4 3.4 3.1 2.7 3.0


The students percentage in every group that achieved English Baccalaureate is widely the same where 16.2% of the students  who had English as their first language obtaining the indicator as compared to the 16.0 % of the students who had their first language being different from English. The gap attainment is now at 0.2 % points having reduced from the previous one of 1.2 in the year 2010 and 2011. The students who had their first language being different from English made a progress which was expected in English as compared to the ones who had English as their first language.

4.5 Gender

According to the research done by SFR (2013), girls have been able to perform better as compared to the boys. The percentage margin between the boys and girls obtaining 5 and above in GCSE in the A* to C grade and its equivalent is 6.5% points. 83.6% of the girls achieve the indicator while the boys who achieve the indicator are 79.8 %.  This gap has continued to reduce for the last few years from the range of 8.8% points during the year 2007 and 2008.

The percentage margin between the boys and girls who obtain 5 or even more GCSE in the A* and C grade together with mathematics and English IGCSEs and GCSE is 9.5 % points. 63.6 % of girls achieve the indicator while the boys who achieve the indicator are 54.2%. This gap has continued to become bigger by 1.4% from the year 2007 to 2008. When this issue is looked into details on the trends in every year, the gap has continued to become narrow and has became slightly stable just before it later widened in the period between year 2010 t0 2011 and 2011 to 2012 by 2.2% points. This was as a result of a 1.8% points increase by the girls and 0.4% points decrease by the boys.

The margin between the boys and girls percentage in obtaining the so called English Baccalaureate is about 5.8% point where 19.1% girls achieve the Baccalaureate in English while 13.3 % boys achieve the same (SFR, 2013). This is in line with the attainment gap in 2010 to 2011 which was 5.5% points. In the period between 2011 and 2012, an average of 25.6% girls became admitted for all subject areas in English Baccalaureate, while the boys were 20.7%.

The margin in the percentage of boys and girls producing the progress expected in English was 13.0% points. This margin became bigger with a percentage point of about 2.5 in the period 2010 and 2011. The percentage margin between the boys and girls making the progress that was expected in mathematics became narrow with a 4.4% points. However, this margin has become bigger by 0.7% points in the period 2010 and 2011.


Presence of minority ethnic people in the education system especially the students in the British system of education has been seen like a problem and a major threat in the standards of education in the white community (Osler, 1997). The minority students such as the black students joined in the education system in the last five decades. The whole thing was biased especially by the social class and later on it was racially biased.

This paper began by examining the “enduring inequalities experienced by black Students worldwide. The functionalist highlight that equitable education can be accessed by all  but the Marxist goes ahead  to disagree with their arguments and states that social and economic background of individuals within the society today is different hence this paves way for inequality in education  that is evident within the society today  as highlighted within the  context of this research paper (Harvey, 2007).for example in the united states sociologist argues that “ Under the guise of freedom of choice the white flight towards ‘better’ schools is leaving black families with only one choice – their local school” (Weekes-Bernard, 2007). As a result that black children are being viewed as an ‘educational problem’ and a threat to the educational standards of the white community. Hence, we are witnessing increasing educational segregation.

It is evident therefore that students who have their first language as English have high chances of succeeding as compared to those who have other different languages and not English. We have also been able to see that teenage rebellion is high in Caribbean and in the whites as compared to the case of Chinese boys and those of Asia. This is an implication that sub cultural factors do influence the education patterns of education underachievement. On the other hand, evidence has shown it clearly that most of the parents as well as children have a lot of value with the achievement of education. The cultures of ethnic minority should therefore not be regarded as deprived. Most of these parents from the ethnic minority groups do not have cultural capital which may be invested in the system of education. They therefore could face more problems due to poverty.

The present trends in the UK education system will pose serious challenges for the black community in its attempts to counter this inequality. Although the British state has legislated against racial discrimination the state has done little in recent years to develop fairness and equity for black and minority ethnic students in education. The education system has not actively sought to provide a fair and equal education for all. Indeed, population segregation by area results in segregated education. This is allied to growing media and political hostility to ‘multiculturalism.’ Further, black males are predominately demonized as the main elements in gun and drug culture and crime (Wright 2010). The attempts by teachers and LEAs to develop a more equitable system have been replaced by competition between schools.

Multicultural, anti-racist education now appears to be in the past as the market decides what schools will teach and who their students will be. The increase in the market of ‘faith’ schools (i.e. schools of predominately one religion) further exacerbates segregation. In addition, the increased labeling of schools.

The paper has therefore succeeded in dealing with the research on the minority ethnic children in the education system which has really been viewed as a major problem. The literature review has been able to explain the issues on the policy discourse, school attainment and the contexts. This has shown the way students from the small ethnic groups such as the blacks have been regarded to have low outcomes than their peers.  This is not actually true as it has been noted that the black students with average points in the GCSE have been seen to continue with the higher education as compared with the white students. The black students attend the university in large numbers. However, these students from the small communities tend to use of their own languages from their communities. These languages may make them not able to understand the formal language. This may make the students from these communities fail to understand questions as well as answer the questions in a manner that the examiner will understand .The results findings have been discuss the education desire and identity formation. While looking at the working class Caribbean women, it is evident that when the youth and women were on the ground, they had the desire to climb onto the career ladder. They tirelessly worked for academic success and obtained the qualifications. Their motivation did not just come from the desire of the credentials in education, but also the educational urgency. I have also talked about the parenting and family role in success, where we have identified that parents in the middle class in the Caribbean heritage were very much involved in the education of their children outside the school. Together with professionals in the middle class, they draw onto social networks so as to give their children a positive representation.

It is argued that the underachievement of the ethnic minority could be as a result of the financial disadvantage, the response (negative) that they get from others as a result of poverty. The problems and challenges that their parents also experience could translate the ambitions they have to their children have meaning to their children.

Reference List

Archer, L. & Francis, B. (2007). Understanding minority ethnic achievement: Race, gender,                      class    and ‘success’. London and New York: Routledge.

Ball, S.J. (2008). The education debate. Bristol: Policy Press

Baker, M. (2002). Education Achievement. (Online). BBC Education Correspondent. Available             fromhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/in_depth/uk/2002/race/educational_achievem   ent.stm. Accessed on 24/06/2013

Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In Handbook of Theory for Research in the Sociology ofEducation, Richardson, J.G. (ed.), 241-58. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Cummings, C., Laing, K., Law, J., McLaughlin, J., Papps, I., Todd,                                                T. and Woolner, P. (2012).Canchanging aspirations and attitudes impact on educational           attainment? A review of interventions Newcastle: Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Earlham sociology pages. (2013) “Race”, Ethnicity and Education Achievement. (Online)             Available from http://www.earlhamsociologypages.co.uk/ethedessay.html#Educational_.               Accessed on 24/04/2013.

Mirza, H. (2009). Race, gender and educational desire: Why black women succeed and fail.                     London: Routledge.

Mirza, H. (2006). ‘Race’, Gender and Educational Desire. Race, Ethnicity and Education 9          (2),137-158.

Mirza, H.S. & Reay, D. (2000). Redefining citizenship: Black women educators and                     ‘the thirdspace’. In Challenging Democracy: International Perspectives on Gender,       Arnot, M. and Dillabough, J. (eds.). London: Routledge Falmer.


Osler, A. (1997). The education and careers of black teachers: Changing identities,                                    changinglives. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Reay, D. (2000). A Useful Extension of Bourdieu’s Conceptual Framework?                     Emotional Capital as a Way of Understanding Mother’s Involvement in Their Children’s   Education? Sociological.Review, 48(44), 568-585.


Rollock, N., Gillborn, D., Vincent, C. and Ball, S. (2011). The Public Identities of the Black         MiddleClasses: Managing Race in Public Spaces. Sociology, 45(6), 1078-93.

School Portal (2013). Ethnic and Inequality (Online)  Available from www.school-            portal.co.uk/GroupDownloadFile.asp?GroupID Accessed 24/04/2013

SFR (2013) Statistical Foundation Release. (Online). Department of Education Available from             https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/167601/sfr 04-2013.pdf.pdf. Accessed on 25/04/2013

Social trends, (1994). Australian Social Trends.  Austraria Bureau of Statistics. 4102.0

Tomlinson, S. (2008). Race and education. Policy and politics in Britain. Berkshire: Open             UniversityPress.

Wright, C. (1987). Black students – white teachers. In Racial inequality in education, Troyna B.

(ed.), 109-126. London: Allen and Unwin.

Wright, C., Weekes, D., Macglauglin, A. (2000). Race, gender and class in exclusion from            school.London: Routledge Falmer.

Wright, C. (2010). Othering Difference: Framing Identities and Representation in Black   Children’sSchooling in the British Context. Irish Educational Studies, 29(3), 289-304.

Wright, C. (2013). Understanding black academic attainment. (Online) Education Inquiry. Vol4, No. 1 .pp87-102 Available from            http://www.use.umu.se/digitalAssets/116/116065_understanding_black_eduinq_vol4_no            1_march13_87-102.pdf. Accessed 23/04/2013.

Yuval-Davis, N. (2011). Beyond the recognition and re-distribution dichotomy: Intersectionality              and stratification. In Framing Intersectionality: Debates on Multi-faceted Concept in    GenderStudies, Helm Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar and Linda Supik (eds.),                                    Abingdon: Ashgate.

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