Family background proves important to educational ambition

People from lower socio-economic backgrounds have worse educational outcomes, according to the ESRI

Young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds experience lower educational outcomes than those from “more advantaged families” a report from the the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows.

The latest findings from the Growing up in Ireland study shows results from over 6,000 17 to 18-year-olds who have been participating in the study since 2007.

The research found that attitudes of students towards school and their teachers varied significantly depending on family income and social class.

A total of 39 per cent of young people from the most socially disadvantaged families disliked school compared with 19 per cent of those in the most socially advantaged group.

Those from less advantaged families reported more negative experiences with teachers and were less likely to be praised by their teacher for good work (60 per cent compared to 52 per cent).

Young people from higher income families were more likely to take grinds during their course of study with 63 percent of those surveyed in the highest income group supplementing their education this way, compared to 33 percent in the lowest income group.

The report also found that the educational background of the mothers of young people has a significant influence on their educational outcome.

Those from more educationally advantaged homes obtained higher results in Junior Certificate English and Maths.

Adding to this, 80 per cent of 17 to 18-year-olds whose mother had a Junior Certificate or less intended to continue to further/higher education compared to 93 per cent of those whose mother had a degree.

The report calls for additional interventions to be put in place to “reduce the apparent dependency of educational outcomes on family characteristics”.

It raises concerns that “children from families who are better off educationally or financially continue tend to fare better than those who are less well-off,” said Dr. Katherine Zappone, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Lauren Ennis

Image Credit: Doorways


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