Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Home News Working-class white boys . . . a ticking time bomb

Working-class white boys . . . a ticking time bomb

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WHAT could be more important than raising gender awareness in schools? This, after all, is 2020. Being ‘woke’ is what matters. We are forever being bombarded with what is supposed to be good for us.

A report by the Education Policy Institute should, therefore, be welcomed. It is all about gender. For gender zealots, however, it is likely to be ignored as not fitting the permissible narrative of dominant and domineering males.

Teaching, the report points out, is female-dominated – to the extent of 86 per cent in primary schools and 65 per cent in the secondary sector. In addition, the percentage of male teachers quitting each year exceeds that of females.

Nor will the report’s data on ethnic-minority male teachers provide much solace for grievance-laden PC partisans. The number of male teachers from ethnic minorities is increasing and, at 17 per cent, now slightly exceeds their proportion in the population as a whole.

Masculinity and white ethnicity are real issues in our schools. Besides the shortage of white male teachers, white working-class boys are an issue, too. When it comes to the academic performance of different ethnic groups and gender cohorts, they are at the bottom of the pile.

The Commons Select Committee on Education was informed recently by Professor Matthew Goodwin that these pupils suffer from ‘a status deficit’. He has worked out that PC labels such as ‘white privilege’ and ‘toxic masculinity’ are not helpful. Another expert, Dr Lee Elliot Major, told the committee that ‘we’ve created a narrow academic race system that is unwinnable for white working-class communities’.

How right they surely are, these experts. The committee members will, belatedly perhaps, now have some understanding of what is going on with a sizeable number of our Caucasian ethnic group. Better late than never, one might conclude.  

The committee was put right after the hearing, however, by Professor Kalwant Bhopal, Director of the Centre for Research in Race and Education at the University of Birmingham. He explained that ‘Black, Indian and Pakistani/Bangladeshi poor working-class pupils are disadvantaged in their educational experiences due to the structural and institutional racism they experience’. It appears that he did not want the committee to be distracted by the bleating of the white lower orders.

These days it seems that there is nothing worse than ‘white’. Such blinkered bigotry is hugely damaging for the cohesion of society and not least for educational provision.

In contrast, the story of the UK’s BAME community is, largely, one of success, however hard-earned at times. The performance of our immigrant children has been particularly outstanding. The comparative success of London schools is mostly down to the disproportionate number of immigrants in the capital. It was ever the case. Immigrant families have, throughout history and across the world, been amongst the most hard-working. They are also the most inclined to place high value on education.

The growing alienation of white males from the teaching profession, however, can no longer be ignored. Too many children, girls as well as boys, are growing up without male role models playing much of a part in their lives. The feminisation of schools – teachers as social workers and PC warriors – is putting men off. Concerns about child abuse may be another factor. An unwarranted stigma can attach to a man who wishes to work with children, especially young children.

In response to the publication of the report on October 19 I discussed some of the issues it raised with Nick Ferrari on LBC radio.

Many white males are retreating in the face of the woke onslaught. In schools the lack of male teachers means that many children are missing out on a lack of gender diversity that may have a long-term impact. The under-performance of working-class white boys, meanwhile, is being neglected. They constitute a high proportion of school leavers who are uneducated, unemployable and unappeased.

Storing up trouble for the future? You bet! 

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Chris McGovernhttp://www.cre.org.uk
Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. A retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, Chris is a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers.

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