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We need another number here

At half of England’s universities, fewer than 5% of students are classified as being from disadvantaged white backgrounds, according to a new report from the National Education Opportunities Network (Neon). This fact is bluntly stated as being a problem in the introduction of the report rather than the conclusion, but it is worth looking beyond these headline figures. What do reports like this really tell us?

Actually, the number tells us nothing at all without one more such number. What’s the portion of the age cohort that is disadvantaged white?

Guess what’s the one number we’re not told?

18 thoughts on “We need another number here”

  1. Tim, so right. We’re given cues rather than facts we can derive a conclusion from. “Look a number! It’s next to the word disadvantaged my work here is done, you can take it from here.”

  2. On the other hand hand half of England’s universities have more than 5% underprivileged white.
    Even if we buy into the idea that the underprivileged are as capable as the general population, it could be, on the figures presented, that they are gaining more than their proportional share of university places.

  3. OMG that article!.

    “I’ve drawn some circles around some plots of population statistics. Thing is many chose to stay at home with Mum than go to university and get employment far away. So everything’s really complicated and i’m determined to get to the bottom of it, possibly at some point at the end of my entire career.”

    Jeepers Phil- ok it’s your thang and go into all the anthropolgy you want, but as far as policy is concerened can’t we just say? ” Keep the door open to everyone to allow everyone to apply to uni. Accept that yes making a family over career decision is just fine. And accept it might mean that the majority of housing ministers might to have to, you know, be prepared to visit london to further their career.

  4. What do we do for the poor whites who decline to go to university because the thought of a five/six-figure debt is anathema to them? Oh, I know, we make employers require a degree for any stupid job which previously did not need one.

    (OK, I know we don’t make them require a degree, they do it to thin out the applicants.)

  5. If you keep linking you find that the definition started off as “white students claiming free school meals” then the Grauniad changed it to “white working class” then “disadvantaged”.
    It is perfectly true that the “white working class” are disadvantaged *thanks to The Guardian”, but those entitled to free school meals include a lot from the *non-working* class.
    The %age of secondary school pupils claiming free school meals is 12.9%. White children are 67.2% of schoolchildren, but a lower %age of those claiming free school meals
    After several minutes still not found the answer but I did find tthat less than one-quarter of white boys getting free school meals gor 5 good GCSEs so not likely to even apply to uni – in fact 5% of university entrants from this group is far too high: it should be 3%

  6. I don’t know why universities are the focus when it’s the schooling system that’s failing to instil the basics.

  7. john77: exactly. When I went to school in the 1980s we got free school meals, but by anybody’s standards we were probably middle class. Parents went to uni, home owner with a mortgage, seven uncles and aunts went to uni, two grandparents when to uni, then teachers when teaching was a proper profession, other grandfather rose from (vauge memory) technical drafter to accounts manager.

  8. Most of the so-called ‘working class’ males of my acquaintance are pulling down £22.50/hour, with no shortage of overtime – as much work as they can handle. Those that have limited aptitude beyond humping stuff around (disadvantaged) are pocketing £11.00/hour net. Uni never entered anyone’s head, why would it?

  9. Riffing off of Bernie G’s excellent comment, could the truth be that poorly paid university educated journalist has noticed exactly this & insists that something should be done about it?

  10. Duchess Dimwit

    “Upon being handed a sheet of data showing that UK professors are overwhelmingly white men, the duchess reportedly said: ‘Oh my God.’

    68% of UK professors were white males, 23% white female, 6.5% black and minority ethnic (BME) male and 2% BME female.

    Meera Sabaratnam, leading the working party to decolonise the curriculum at SOAS, University of London and whose data inspired Meghan’s ‘Oh my God’ comment”

    UK white 87.1%

    Plus Age >= seniority

    No obvious discrimination

  11. The Duchess of Sussex grew up in the USA where 52% of the population is non-white so she would naturally be shocked to learn that only 9% of UK professors are non-white. As rather less than 13% of UK adults are non-white (the %age of non-white children is noticeably higher than that of non-white adults) a Briton would not have been shocked.

  12. @john 77

    Duchess Dimwit has been in UK long enough to know UK is not USA

    Plus, she knows political campaigning is forbidden

  13. @ Pcar
    Automatic reflexes are based on childhood perceptions of reality not stuff that may or may not have been learned in the last couple of years.

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