Data suggests that white working class boys are among the lowest attainers in our schools. Matt Bromley considers why this is and what schools might be able to do about it

In 2019, the average Attainment 8 score for pupils who were not eligible for free school meals (FSM) was 45.6. Currently, around 10 per cent of white pupils, 20 per cent of black pupils, and 45 per cent of Bangladeshi pupils receive FSM. In total, there were 33,697 boys on FSM who sat their GCSEs in 2019. Of these:

This data shows that white boys in receipt of FSM (who we might term “white working class boys” although, of course, FSM eligibility is not synonymous with working class) underperform compared to all other groups.

Of course, it is true that white British pupils perform slightly better, on average, than BAME children. But, because girls perform significantly better on average than boys, and pupils who are not eligible for FSM perform significantly better on average than pupils who are, then white boys eligible for FSM perform markedly worse than pupils from every other category, including FSM pupils from every other ethnicity.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting SecEd and reading some of our content for professionals in secondary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcast

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday and Thursday


Already have an account? Sign in here