Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Huge failure: Why are 60% of children from Britain's poorest homes arriving at secondary school without the three Rs?

Lack of discipline hits kids from feral homes the most

Three in five youngsters from poor homes in failing primary schools do not master educational basics before starting secondary school, a new report has revealed.

New research set to be published today shows growing numbers of children receiving free school meals are unable to read, write or do sums before leaving primaries.

And it is white British pupils who 'seem to pose the biggest challenge', with educational attainment lagging behind youngsters from other ethnic groups.

The findings, published to mark the launch of the Sutton Trust's Education Endowment Fund (EEF), show that the gap between poor and better-off youngsters is widening dramatically.

Quoted by the BBC, Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the EEF and the Sutton Trust, said the research was 'a stark reminder of the inequalities facing poor pupils in this country'.

He added: 'Too little is known about what works in raising the achievement of the poorest pupils and it is incumbent on us... to help address this.'

The research looked at performance among children on free school meals at schools which had failed to meet Government targets for 11-year-olds and GCSE results. It showed the numbers of them reaching minimum standards in SAT exams at age 11 had dropped 13 per cent - from 45 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2010. This compared to a success rate of 81 per cent among youngsters not eligible for free school meals who attended primaries which were up to Government standards.

The findings come despite billions of pounds being handed to schemes intended to raise educational standards in deprived areas.

The gap widens at secondary school, the report found. Better off youngsters were found to be three times more likely to reach minimum educational standards at GCSE than their poorer peers (61 per cent, compared with 18 per cent).

The majority of the 165,000 pupils covered by the research were white Britons. It found that, as an ethnic group, these pupils were more likely to perform badly.

The report pointed out that poor white British pupils were only half as likely to reach the minimum GCSE target of five passes at grades A-C as Bangladeshi children, and also lagged behind Pakistani, Black African, Caribbean and Asian pupils.

The EEF, launched by educational charity the Sutton Trust tomorrow, will use £215million of government money and and income from other sources to help youngsters in deprived areas. The central aim of the fund is to raise the attainment of individual disadvantaged pupils in underperforming schools.

Organisations including schools, charities and local authorities will be able to apply for funds for projects to help educational achievement of the poorest children in the worst schools.

The Independent quoted Sir Peter as saying: 'The children and young people the EEF aims to benefit deserve better. 'We hope that, by identifying, developing and evaluating projects which are cost-effective and scalable, we can start to have a lasting impact on their lives as well as influencing the way schools spend their billions.'


Bias against whites in British school

White Schoolboy can't have beard but Muslims can

A schoolboy has been banned from class and put into isolation after he refused to shave off his beard. Harrison Cerami’s mum Kerry claims the 15-year-old is unable to shave regularly because of a skin complaint.

But the head teacher at his school in Clitheroe, Lancs, has refused to back down - despite Mrs Cerami's claim that Asian males are allowed beards on religious grounds.

Mrs Cerami, 41, who runs an online children's clothes boutique, is furious about the school's treatment of 6ft 2in Harrison - known as Harry. She said: ‘There are children at that school with earrings, nose rings, eyebrow piercings, yet Harry's being singled out for having a beard. He's hit puberty and is a big lad who looks like a man. He is being penalised for growing up.

‘Before he went back to school after a week's work experience, we took him to a proper barbers to get his beard trimmed and shaped so he looked really smart.

‘There are Asian lads at the school with beards, but Harry is not allowed one because this is not a religion issue. He's just a good looking, hairy lad that wants to have a nice, trimmed beard. ‘He would have to shave every day and it would cause him real problems because he suffers from acne.’

She added: ‘I could perhaps understand the isolation punishment for something more serious, but to be put into a small room for a whole day is disgraceful’ ‘Harry feels like he's in prison. If this carries on, we'll just keep him off school for the last two weeks. ‘Harry was furious. It was such an overreaction.’

Ribblesdale School, in Clitheroe, has told Kerry that Harry must obtain a doctor's note if there is a genuine medical reason preventing him from shaving.

Harry was told to shave on Wednesday and after he attended school with the beard the next day, he was put into isolation. Head teacher Simon Smith said the policy for boys was that they attend clean shaven.

The school's uniform policy does not specifically mention beards but states: ‘Hairstyles must be neat and tidy and avoid extremes of colour and style.’

Kerry received a letter from the head which said: ‘I'm writing to let you know that last week I asked Harrison to come back to school after his week's work experience placement clean shaven.

‘Our policy for boys is that they attend school clean shaven.’ And in an earlier letter to parents sent out in April, Mr Smith outlined his stance on uniform and appearance - and frustration with those who did not abide by the rules. ‘I believe that a smart school uniform sets high standards and expectations for the pupils and is also a very public statement about us, as a school, within the community,’ he explained. ‘It is often the 'small things' which make the biggest impression: make up; jewellery; hairstyle/colour...

‘For pupils who persistently challenge the uniform standards, we will use the full range of sanctions available to us which may also involve parents coming into school to discuss any issues I, or other staff, may have.’

Ribble Valley Council leader Michael Ranson backed the school and said: ‘As far as I am concerned if the school has a rule and that rule is quite clear, then pupils should abide by them.’


Australian schoolboy is taking his fight to play netball in a girls' side to the discrimination watchdog

Interesting to see how the bureaucrats wriggle out of this one -- but wriggle they will

A SCHOOLBOY is taking his fight to play netball in a girls' side to the discrimination watchdog.

Danny Loats, 11, is the only male player in the Banyule District Netball Association and has been picked in their representative sides two years running.

But after enjoying the backing of his Alphington teammates and rivals alike in his own league, their opponents refused to let him line up in a recent junior tournament.

Danny's netball-mad family has enlisted lawyers Maurice Blackburn to take their case to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, with a conference scheduled today.

Danny told the Herald Sun he was the only player of more than 800 not allowed to take part against Diamond Creek Force. "It's sort of sad because everyone else could play but me," he said.

His dad Greg said Danny was the first allowed to try out for state selection in his age group. But there were few alternatives for boys playing at Danny's level except to join girls' teams, he said. "It's all about boys having the same opportunity as girls to play netball," Mr Loats said. "Girls can play AFL and soccer, boys should have the same opportunities."

Netball Victoria has an exemption from VCAT allowing its member associations to declare themselves girls-only in Danny's age group. It's up to the leagues to decide if they want boys to play. Danny's family wants Netball Victoria to change its policy so boys can't be excluded.

But Netball Victoria denies Danny has been unfairly left out, saying the issue was with the law, not the sport. "We're inclusive, we support boys playing netball," a spokeswoman said.

She said Diamond Creek Force followed Netball Victoria's guidelines "to the letter".

Danny's lawyer Natasha Andrew said he just wanted to compete at the top level.


No comments: