‘Ethnicity, gender, deprivation and low achievement in English schools: does critical race theory explain anything?’

Prof Carl Parsons

Visiting Professor of Social Inclusion Studies

University of Greenwich


Thursday 26 March 2015 1 – 2 pm

Cass School of Education and Communities, Stratford Campus  ED2.04


The paper examines publicly available statistics on attainment in education in schools in England. It presents data which displays attainment at different stages in children’s educational careers and shows the intersection between ethnicity, gender and deprivation.

The picture in England in 2014 is complex, has changed significantly over 20 years and reveals high attaining ethnic minority groups and a constancy in the ‘gap’ between free school meal entitled children and others differing between ethnic groups while the gender gap remains constant across ethnic groups.

The simple representation of current data in England raises questions about both causes of low attainment and appropriate policy responses.

It also prompts criticism of the application of critical race theory (CRT) which has its origins in the very different ethnic and class environment of the USA. More provocatively, one might suggest that imported CRT is an intellectual affectation in the UK which deflects attention from policy and practice responses which might better address perverse inequalities in educational provision and outcomes in England.




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