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Do people make their own social mobility, do you think?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by dunnocks, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Does this mean anything? I think your life chances are seriously impacted if you don't have secure home, either through homelessness or family politics. I think your life chances are seriously impacted if you are abused or neglected by your carers.

    Apart from that, it seems to me that most children get an equal chance at doing well. I don't really think money plays much of a role. Parental attitude, and peer group maybe, and being in a school where poor behaviour prevents teaching. But are these things regional?
  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Unfortunately, it does.

    Educational attainment and wealth are highly correlated, and that correlation is strengthening.
  3. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    but is that because money improves your education, or because genetically more academically able parents will have both more money, and genetically more academically able children?

    In other words, is this the RESULT of social mobility?
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Money improves your life chances massively

    Study after study after study shows this. And it's not surprising.
    BetterNow and Vince_Ulam like this.
  5. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

  6. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    BetterNow likes this.
  7. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    yes I saw that, I think its good. I think we have a major issue with housing, particularly local to where I work, and that lack of security in your home is going to have practical and emotional implications. But London has the worst housing situations, and the best social mobility according to this survey!

    I suppose my thinking is that we all give our lives over to giving every student every opportunity, and I don't really think the "poor" ones get a lesser input than the rich ones. In fact, you often can't tell who is well off and who is struggling anyway, the pp is just based on income and benefits, not in any way a reflection on disposable income or housing security

    (speaking as a single mum who for many years was significantly worse of than I would have been on benefits, with reasonable salary but paying London mortgage and childcare rates out of that - I frequently couldn't eat, nd I know many families in similar situations, in fact, if anything, it is worse now)

    My kids are still aiming for RG unis in difficult and competitive subjects though.

    Ok, that s my personal experience, but I see it replicated thousand fold around me in different schools. I can't think how more money would have made any difference to us, or to many of the students I see now.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I am also aware how wealthy people can at the speed of light become super express downwardly mobile....

    of course there isn't room for everybody t the top, so some people being "upwardly mobile" obviously means some other people having significantly worse educational and economic outcomes than their parents...
  9. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    IMO local culture and local economy have a huge impact.

    Most people aren't born into money so have to work for it - those parents who are earning pass this attitude onto their children and naturally encourage their children to do better than them. That starts with doing better at school. So money is, in a sense, a factor.

    Areas where children are born into families where nobody has worked for 3 or 4 generations tend to have less positive attitudes to school and self improvement. These families tend to exist in clusters.
    saluki and Pomza like this.
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The best thing to do is to look at the numerous studies that have gone into much more detail over decades, but lower income has a clear and persistent effect on many, many factors including life expectancy, birth weight, infant mortality, health problems, social problems, access to opportunity etc, and all of these will clearly impact on education.

    The quality of education is generally not as good in poor localities but the gap is there even before pupils attend school and widens markedly in primary. This has been very well documented,

    It is no surprise that people in a nice environment, with stable and secure home lives and reasonably fulfilling jobs and friends with similar, etc have children who go on to do likewise, while those in challenging, unhealthy and unsettled environments with little prospects and no useful social networks have very little chance of experiencing better lives.

    As inequality has grown, the attainment gap has widened, again emphasising the connectedness of the factors.
    englishtt06 likes this.
  11. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Isn't it? some of the best teachers I have ever known have been in deprived areas.

    I don't know why a "nice environment" makes a difference to how stable and secure your home is, I don't think it does.

    I am interested, so would like to hear from these points of view, but it isn't what the study is showing, in this study there is NO link between deprivation and social mobility, in fact it is reporting that there is more social mobillity in deprived areas - I'm not entirely sure what that means though, because if it is only measuring UPWARD mobility, then of course there will be more mobility from a starting point that has more potential places to move to from! But if it is measuring life prospects, then some of the most deprived areas in the country have the BEST.

    I personaly would, from my own experience, wonder exactly how much this is sewed by refugee and immigrant populations though, as I know many such families may live in deprived areas, but have very high aspirations.

    which goes back to my question about do you make your own social mobility.
  12. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Possibly social mobility depends mostly on the attitude of your parents when you are young, and your own attitude as a secondary school student.
  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Yes, the word "generally" means not in every case. Many good teachers work in deprived areas but obviously it's less attractive to teachers than an easy life in a leafy suburban 90% A-C school. I have worked in very challenging environments and it's very difficult to get teachers of any kind, never mind those with the necessary skills to cope with the young people in question.

    People living in "nicer" areas generally have more stable and more secure home lives. It's just how life is.

    Deprivation and social mobility are extremely highly correlated and have been for as long as we can remember. Again this is an indisputable fact.

    You clearly believe this, despite it being totally at odds with the evidence, and clearly no amount of data, research, and studies, are going to change that. Can't see the point in you asking the question, to be honest.
  14. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    @dunnocks but school isn't the be all and end all when it comes to social mobility. As discussed on the Oxbridge threads; a student is more likely to excel in a leafy lane environment than in an inner-city comp: there will always be exceptions to these rules but the evidence is overwhelming in terms of these trends. And even then, a good education is no guarantee of success. Anecdotally, I can think of at least ten people I know who got their 'starter' jobs (great jobs, not that well paid) through their parents' networks - a friend of theirs etc. They weren't well-paid positons, but then their parents met the rent etc. or at least helped out. It is a bit of a bug-bear of mine that to work in politics or the media you mostly have to take an unpaid internship; these career paths are almost invariably located in cities (not just London, but mostly London) - how many young people can afford to work in London for free? I also know one or two people who worked 2-3 jobs to make this happen (bar/waitressing work on an evening to support them in an internship) but weren't as successful as their more well off counterparts - possibly because they were exhausted. I also know some young people who either have parents in London or relatives.... so that helps; but even so, it's hardly a level playing field, is it?

    I get your own personal situation may not have been easy but the fact that you are a) educated to a degree level and b) have a mortgage puts your family on a higher footing in terms of mobility in a lot of measures. Moreover: you have a mortgage in London which is also very impressive (countered by the single parent status, but you get my drift).

    I often can tell in myriad ways - how often they were read to as a child; access to cultural capital (museum visits, camping or overseas holidays, paid-for after school opportunities like dance classes), whether their parents attend parents evening, the state of their uniform, various SEN/EBD issues, clear boundaries at home, quality of homework, awareness of current affairs, responsbilities as carers (usually for younger siblings but sometimes parents, too), lack of stability in parental relationships, poor nutrition*, access to books etc.: all of these impact on a students' attainment and are almost invariably linked to income. We may well give the students in our classes equal opportunity but mobility is so much more than this.

    * take a look at a student lunchbox next time you are in school - you can easily segregate your classes into social demographics based on the fresh fruit vs processed foods index!
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  15. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I’ve been thinking about the question you raised some more whilst preparing an exceptionally middle-class dinner and listening to Radio 4!

    What irritates me about the question is the implication that a desire for upwards social mobility is all it takes to make it happen. It’s an idea that is so wildly simplistic and, in my view, dangerous. It dovetails very nicely with the oft-held belief that the reason people are poor and on benefits is purely their own fault and all it takes is a better work ethic to transform their lives.

    For every Richard Branson / Alan Sugar / Bill Gates there are thousands – nay, millions- who never made it: even those with cast-iron work ethics. Yes, individuals can overcome great obstacles to make a success of their lives and, whilst there are always exceptions, the stats consistently show one trend and one trend only for the masses: that the more prosperous your beginnings, the more likely you are to succeed.
    dunnocks likes this.
  16. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    this isn't really my experience of many decades working with homeless people. I would say you are less likely to end up sleeping rough or in hostels if your immediate family is housed in small accommodation, but that living spaces in "nicer" areas may actually be smaller.
  17. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Agree - this should definitely be illegal.
  18. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I'm very very lucky, what I've got is impossible for the generation below.

    In fact, working in a shelter for rough sleepers makes me very very aware how close many of my teaching colleagues are from being in that position themselves. Some have very precarious living situations.
  19. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    a bug -bear of mine. Children can't eat apples/ pears/ bananas etc unless they are prepared to carry the core and peel around all day, so children with working parents, who don't get home until later are far less likely to eat fresh fruit than children with unemployed parents who pick them up at the school gate.

    I'm talking about primary, of course, but none of my children could take fruit to school because of the smell and mess they had to put up with in their school bags for the next 6 hours after lunch time - and although they are secondary now, that habit has continued.

    I complained at the time, repeatedly, and including on the parental survey for an ofsted inspection, but use of school bins for the remains of lunch remained strictly prohibited.
  20. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    are you saying one of these is a better indicator of money?

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