I am currently working in an Erasmus+ funded project across the UK, Norway and Denmark exploring educational inequality. In fact I am in Norway right now having spent the day with staff and students all passionate about this issue training to be researchers.
The situation is stark in the UK as these brief statistics show:
- 11.2% of all 16-24 years olds are NEET (House of Commons Library, 2018)
- 18% of pupils drop out from Key Stage 4 education (EU, 2018)
- 4.5% of children have absences from school and 10% of those miss a total of 10% of their schooling (DfE, 2017)
- 54% of school pupils report being bullied (UK Annual Bullying Survey, 2017) which perhaps accounts for why some young people do not want to be in school
- 10% of children under 16 experience a mental health issue and only 30% of them receive treatment (NHS England, 2018), which could be either a reason for, or effect of educational inequality.
In a new UNICEF report (An Unfair Start) the UK ranks 23rd / 41 in inequalities during the primary school years 16th /41 in terms of educational inequality during the secondary school years. Is this really good enough?
Years of growing income inequality is affecting the education of our pupils as is the increasing trend of elitist, selective, unequally funded schools in the country.
The 40 academic and student co-researchers in the MaCE project (https://www.usn.no/english/research/projects/marginalisation-and-co-created-education-mace/) are interviewing numerous young people to understand their experiences and to create new solutions for schools, colleges and universities to undertake.
Have your say, send in your experiences of education, your opinions about inequality and your ideas for change. Make the world a better place.