Failure of UK Education System Hinders Academic Achievement

The vast majority of young, non-white students in the UK have experienced racism, while a great number think that radical stigmas discourage them from their academic goals. But a group of UK MPs have recently claimed that the term white privilege is a reason for neglecting young working-class white children in the UK education system, thus hindering their academic achievement.

UK MPs Claim Poor White Pupils Are Neglected in the Education System

A group of UK MPs in a new report on the education system have referred to the term “white privilege” and a lack of support for disadvantaged white students. Educational weaknesses for non-white pupils have usually been the subject of discussion in declared democracies. This group of MPs have emphasised that white children from lower-income families have underachieved and been neglected in the UK education system. According to this report, the popularity of the term white privilege, which emerged in the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter protests, may have contributed to the failure of academic achievements by white students from working class families.

Poor children from a white British background get the least attention in the education system. The UK Parliament’s Educational Select Committee in a report has accused the government of insufficient support for poorer white pupils in the country’s education system. If white pupils are at an advantage –based on the white privilege view – then are the poorer white pupils really at a disadvantage in the UK education system?

Disadvantaged White Pupils Fail to Perform Well at School

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, white privilege is the reason why people with white skin have advantages in society that other people do not have; the concept of white privilege explains why white people have greater access to social, legal and political institutions. The UN’s Global Goal 4 calls for the kind of education system that provides equal access to comprehensive quality education for all children in any society. Goal 10 calls for an end to discrimination based on disability, gender, race, gender, and economic or social ranks.

Not all pupils from different races in Britain have an equal opportunity in the education system. New MPs on the education committee, who are mostly Conservative, investigated why disadvantaged “white” children fail to perform well compared with other disadvantaged pupils. This report has claimed there is an industry that supports disadvantaged non-white pupils in the education system, while white pupils are not supported, such as with free school meals. This report has also claimed that based on the term white privilege, white people who benefit from special advantages in society may contribute to a systematic neglect of white disadvantaged people.

Disadvantaged White Pupils Are More Neglected than the Minorities 

The report has suggested that terms such as white privilege are divisive and can result in the systematic neglect of white disadvantaged communities in the UK. It has emphasised that disadvantaged white children are forgotten in the education system and has warned that this problem has been swept under the carpet. The MPs’ report mentions that the term refers to discrimination, racism and the challenges that people from ethnic minorities encounter. There is a fear that the term can alienate white communities and may cause the systematic neglect of disadvantaged white people.

UK schools have recorded more than sixty thousand racist incidents in the past five years. The government failed to meet essential safeguarding measures and did not force schools to report racism incidents inside the education system. Now, more than 680 police officers work in schools, most of whom have been assigned to areas of high deprivation.

BAME Children Targeted by Systematic Racism in Schools

Discrimination and deprivation in schools is not due to poverty alone, but chief institutions function in a way which discriminates against Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups. This is known as systemic, structural, or institutional racism, which targets young children as well. Data about the UK education system proves that some children are disciplined far more often than others. “Black Caribbean children are three and a half times more likely to be excluded than all other children in primary, secondary and special educational needs schools.”

Their exclusion rates can be six times higher than that of their white peers in some regions. Exclusion can be troublesome and disrupt learning; it can lead to disengagement from education for children. Being excluded from school in the UK education system has increased concerns about the criminalisation of children in this country. Some people wrongly attribute this to cultural or racial differences, when in reality it is due to structural racism in the education system.

Children from Minority Groups Are Stigmatised in Schools

Britain’s racist educational policies of the 70s still exist and contribute to the lack of privilege for BAME children. This disgraceful period in the history of the UK education system has had long-lasting impacts on tens of thousands of people in the minority community. Children of minority communities were stigmatised and labelled in the racial education system as subnormal, letting many children down in every possible way. The overt systematic racism in the British education system brought about a policy of educational segregation which ruined many people’s lives.

Now, more than 40 years later, minority pupils are still punished or excluded more often than their peers. This systematic racism, which is primarily against black pupils, has not faded into obscurity and should be tackled by the UK government to bring change on a social level. The recent report by MPs accuses the emphasis placed on racial discrimination in the education system and claims that it is a cause for the less well-off white children to be deprived of a good education. But this group of MPs must not forget the prolonged, widespread discrimination against minority groups in the system which has devastated many people’s futures.

White Privilege Report Wages a Cultural War

The education committee explains that white privilege was used as a societal privilege, which benefited white people over minority communities. But in the case of educational privilege, the term has not done what it was set out to do in the case of white children from the working classes. The Opposition Labour Party has accused the report of waging a cultural war and mentioned that the lack of investment by the Conservative Party in the education system is the reason for educational disadvantages. This was one of the most challenging sections of the government’s report on racial inequalities. The report faced much opposition, even by the committee’s own members, because using the term white privilege may set one group against another.

To some extent, children from all backgrounds have been let down and neglected over decades in the UK education system, but such reports create divides between children based on their race. Instead, it is suggested by some MPs that the Department for Education take steps to ensure that young people are not being sacrificed by political movements.

Racism is a word that many people may link to “hate crimes or abusive and offensive language”, used against people of different races or ethnic backgrounds. Following the 2020 events in the US and the murder of George Floyd, many people may link the word racism to police brutality and wider “systemic” problems related to the criminal justice system, employment opportunities, health and care support, and perhaps educational privileges for non-white people.

Unfortunately, inside the UK, racism is certainly a problem within its education system and it must be addressed immediately. But a group of MPs in the new report have claimed that using the term white privilege is divisive and has led to the neglect of disadvantaged white pupils in schools, while the non-white pupils have been benefiting from it in the UK education system.

A group of other MPs accuse the report of fanning the flames of a cultural war and emphasise that such work creates divisions among young people based on their race. Critics of the report have asked the UK government to further investigate the education system to provide wider, equal opportunities for all children. In addition to taking systematic measures, there must be a societal effort to eliminate racist opinions in society as a whole.

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