White Pupils, State Schools Underachieve in Flight to Higher Education

White Pupils, State Schools Underachieve in Flight to Higher EducationThis Tuesday, 27 January 2015, the Department for Education released what is otherwise known as “destination data.” Specifically, it is the Statistical First Release of the Destinations of Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 Students, 2012/13. Expert observers of the education sector weighed in on the data and point out underachievement among white pupils. They also highlight how state schools have lagged behind private schools in enabling pupils to enter the next stages of their education. At the same time, the government looks at some positive aspects of the data, pointing out that there is a huge increase, by the thousands, in the number of pupils proceeding to meaningful destinations of further education, training or employment.

Asians and Blacks Progress to University than Whites

Asian and black school-leavers have a higher rate of proceeding to higher education than the white. The percentage of Asian and black pupils going to university is higher than that of the white. Among pupils in the state funded schools, more than half of Asian youth and more than half of black youngsters proceeded to higher education in 2012-13. On the other hand, less than half of white students accomplish this achievement. The difference is 19 percentage points as 64% of Asian pupils went on to higher education, 62% of black pupils also did and only 45% white pupils did so.

Entering Russell Group Universities and Entering Further Education

It was also found out that Asians had a slight edge over white students with regards to entering the top universities bracket which is the Russell Group where the best universities, Oxford and Cambridge are members. 12% of Asian school-leavers went on to the group’s member universities, while 11% of white students did so. Only 6% of black school-leavers went on to these top universities.

Even in further education, Asian and black students beat out their white counterparts in continuing their education after GCSE. 93% of the Asian and black youths proceed after earning the academic qualification while 87% of white students did.

State Schools Lose to Private Schools

Private school students had a higher percentage in university entrance than state school students. Six in every 10 of the former went to higher education while only almost five in every 10 of the latter proceeded. Almost four in every 10 of students from private schools went to Russell Group universities with one in every 20 of them entered either Cambridge or Oxford.

Pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds had a very low turnout with regards to entering institutions in the uppermost third of the higher education sector. Only 8% of these young people who are qualified to receive free meals in schools went on to universities in the top third of the rank list.

Schools Unable to Send Pupils to Top Universities

Overall, hundreds of schools are not able to send pupils to top universities. More than 1,600 schools did not have any pupils going to Cambridge or Oxford and 335 did not have any young people entering any member university of the Russell Group.

A Different Look

Nevertheless, the government is happy with the overall outlook of the destination data. They note that the number of pupils who are continuing their education, or going into training or getting into jobs have increased by the thousands. For the DfE, this and the other numbers of the report show that the government has become better in the aspect of providing more young people with more and better opportunities. In a greater sense, it is part of inclusivity and narrowing the gap between the less privileged and the well-to-do. Further, the education department regards the development as a product of the working together of the different political parties.

Schools minister David Laws says that there is a huge increase, by the thousands, of pupils commencing to further education, training or employment. Aside from this in itself, it is a manifestation that the coalition government is making significant progress in building a fairer society.

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