Despite consistently outperforming other ethnic groups and achieving improvement throughout every level of education, children of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin are less likely to make it into professional, senior positions in the workplace than their peers. This is largely thought to be down to discrimination within workplaces that is specifically targeted towards Muslim women.
By denying those who are making the most progress in education the opportunity to secure higher-paid, managerial roles, members of the Commission suggest that the UK’s mantra of rewarding hard work is false and are calling for a more level playing field for minority groups.
These are not the only ethnic groups at risk. The Commission also offered warnings to other minority groups and white British social groups that could also find themselves stunted when it comes to educational progression and future prospects.
Working-class white children, along with Roma and Gypsy traveller groups, tend to fall behind in school; meanwhile, black children are proven to be more likely to fall behind later in their studies, making them less likely to achieve a good degree or even complete university.
The reasons for these differences within social and ethnic groups could be down to many factors, including the values of different cultures; for example, certain ethnic groups are thought to be far more engaged with their children’s studies due to their own expectations and aspirations.
As such, there is little difference in academic performance between the poorest and richest members of these groups; however, the parents of working-class white children and those from Roma or Gypsy traveller groups tend to be less engaged, meaning the support and guidance for these children is minimal.
Teaching children in a top-tier ‘set’ format may also hinder those in lower sets, the study finds, leading them to become disengaged with their studies in a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ cycle. Summer-born children may also find themselves at an academic disadvantage.
There are many reasons why certain ethnic or social groups could perform differently academically, with the Commission calling for teachers, education systems and other support networks to reach out to those who are performing well and yet still find themselves unable to achieve their career ambitions due to discrimination.
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