White working class pupils and the CRED report


3rd April 2021

Today our Director of Research Dr Sam Baars was interviewed on LBC, as part of a discussion on outcomes for white working class young people in the wake of the report of the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. Sam fed into the Education Select Committee’s inquiry into ‘left behind’ white working-class pupils in October 2020, and has spent over a decade researching the life chances of young people growing up in working class neighbourhoods.

In his interview, Sam drew on CfEY research to make a number of key points:

  • Social class matters for young people from all ethnic groups, not just White pupils
  • Working class White British pupils are primarily disadvantaged by their class, not their ‘whiteness’
  • Working class pupils from other ethnic groups are disadvantaged by their class and by their race
  • Different groups fall behind at different stages in the education system: sometimes White British pupils do relatively badly; sometimes they do relatively well
  • It’s not a race to the bottom: we can say that poorer White British pupils need attention, and that young people from other ethnic groups (such as Black Caribbean pupils) also need attention
  • Parental resources and expectations are an important factor in explaining why White British pupils do relatively poorly at GCSE
  • Geography matters: we need to focus more on poor areas on urban outskirts, not just the inner city

For more info, you might be interested in:

  • Our report for King’s College London on the underrepresentation of white working class boys in higher education
  • Sam’s evidence session for the Education Select Committee
  • Our report on ethnicity, gender and social mobility for the Social Mobility Commission