How does place affect education? Ruth Lupton, Institute of Education, University of London IPPR Social Mobility and Life Chances Forum HM Treasury 14th November 2005
Outline • Theoretical framework: • How might place affect education? • Review of evidence: • What kind of evidence do we have? • What does it tell us ? • Implications for policy
Neighbourhood Individual School Individual Neighbourhood School How might place affect motivation and opportunity to learn? Place effects:local labour market, neighbourhood stigma, local facilities People effects: anti-social peer groups, weak family and social networks to support education and child development, lack of role models. Age matters. Neighbourhood effects in early childhood will be mediated by home and parents, later by schools. For older teenagers, neighbourhood may impact more directly. Schools in some areas are better than in others! School resources (teachers, equipment, facilities), organisation and management, curriculum and pedagogy. Theft and vandalism, teacher recruitment and retention, impact of school composition on school processes and quality
Neighbourhood Effects on Individuals: The Evidence Base • Quantitative area effects literature: • currently limited in UK • data problems: • weak definitions of neighbourhood • can be hard to explore specific mechanisms • lack measures of place characteristics • Qualitative community studies and school ethnographies: • small scale • focus more on experience and outcomes. Do area and school experiences matter independently of outcomes?
Neighbourhood Effects on Individuals: What do we know? • Abundant qualitative evidence of: • Labour market effects • Neighbourhood stigma effects on self-esteem • Alternatives (paid labour, crime, drug selling) • Parental isolation (low social capital) • Limited educational resources among peers • Limited social capital affecting higher education choices • Local facilities, services and safety influencing parenting and children’s experiences
Neighbourhood Effects on Individuals: What do we know? • Quantitative studies tend to find neighbourhood effects: • Neighbourhood (ward) effects on test scores for children aged 4-5 but not older children (McCulloch and Joshi 2000 – UK data) • Neighbourhood effects on development outcomes aged 4-5 and on school drop out and teen pregnancy (Brooks-Gunn et al. 1997 – US data) • Moving to better neighbourhoods reduced school drop out and improved college participation rates (Gautreaux progamme- Chicago) • Drop-out rates being influenced by availability of unskilled work and by concentrated neighbourhood poverty (Overman 2000 – Australian data) • Place effects (eg lack of services and safety) on likelihood of developing problem behaviours (Peeples and Loeber 1994) • Families adopting different strategies in high-risk neighbourhoods (Furstenberg et.al 1998 –US data) • Neighbourhood effects always smaller than individual and household effects. BUT • Moving to better neighbourhoods reduced delinquent and risky behaviour among girls but not boys, and had only very small impact on educational attainment (MTO programme) • All the children were 5+ and few children saw significant improvements in schools attended. Is is schools not neighbourhoods that do the most work?
School Effects on Individuals: The Evidence Base • Quantitative school effectiveness literature: asks whether school matters and what are the features of effective schools. • Valuable and influential but: • external effects on schools have tended to be ignored • different groups of pupils are not always isolated. School effectiveness for whom?
School Effects on Individuals: What do we know? • Better schools make a difference • Schools probably account for between 8% and 15% of attainment differentials. Home and background factors account for the rest. • Equivalent to the difference between 6 Bs at GCSE and 6 Ds (Thomas and Mortimore 1996) • Poor neighbourhoods are more likely to have poor schools (Lupton 2005).
Neighbourhood Effects on Schools: The Evidence Base • Qualitative studies of compositional and neighbourhood effects on school processes: • tend to focus on poor areas and not to be comparative. • focus mainly on secondary schools. • do not identify effects on outcomes. • Quantitative school compositional effects literature: • Tests whether similar pupils have different outcomes in schools of different composition. • Some methodological problems: • Limited measures of composition (mean FSM). Differential effects in mixed schools may cancel each other out. • Lack sensitivity to local factors e.g. ethnic composition. • DFES pupil attainment and progress data
Neighbourhood Effects on Schools: What do we know? • Strong qualitative evidence that composition affects school processes (Gewirtz 1998,Thrupp 1999) and quality (Lupton 2005). Also demonstrated quantitatively (Opdenakker and Van Damme 2001 – Belgian data). • But as regards outcomes… • “for every analysis that finds a compositional effect there is another that does not” (Nash 2003) • “inconclusive” but ”suggests the presence of school compositional effects” (Thrupp et al 2002) • All students do better in higher-SES schools (Zimmer and Toma 2000 – 5 countries) • FSM students in low FSM schools make better progress (up to KS3) than non-FSM pupils in high FSM schools (DFES data). • Within each social class group, those with high ability are most affected by school composition (Opdenakker and Van Damme 2001) • High ability students do slightly better in streams. Lower ability students do better in mixed schools and mixed ability groups (Robertson and Symons 1996)
% pupils progressing from expected level at KS2 in 1999 to expected level at KS3 in 2002 (Mathematics) All pupils: 83%
Summary and Implications for Policy • Schools affect educational outcomes, although relatively little compared with individual, home and family factors • Raising quality of schooling and equalising it across neighbourhoods can be expected to yield benefits, although wider inequalities will still be more important.
Summary and Implications for Policy • Outcomes for low income children are probably negatively affected by being in schools (and classes) with many other low-income children. • If we want to raise the attainment of the lowest attaining, we might look at: • Avoiding unbalanced school intakes where possible (banding, incentives for taking more disadvantaged children, reducing competitive pressures on schools, reducing differentiation) • Mixed ability teaching groups • May be consequences for higher income children • Compositional effects might be offset by different organisational models and more resources for schools in poor neighbourhoods.
Summary and Implications for Policy • (non-school) neighbourhood factors probably make a difference: • Equalising neighbourhood conditions through neighbourhood renewal strategies could be expected to yield educational benefits. • Neighbourhood safety, play facilities, and opportunities for interaction between parents may yield benefits. Design for child-friendly neighbourhoods. Investment in early years, play and youth provision. • Mixed communities may help, but only if mixing takes place in and out of school. Hard to achieve in absence of more general trends towards economic and social cohesion? • NB: Evidence of area effects strengthens case for targeted interventions, but lack of evidence does not necessarily mean targeted interventions should be withdrawn.
Useful reviews of evidence • McCulloch, A. and Joshi, H. (2000) “Neighbourhood and Family Influences on the Cognitive Ability of Children in the British National Child Development Study”. ISER working paper 2000-24 • Sammons, P. (1999) School Effectiveness Coming of Age in the 21st Century • Thrupp,M., Lauder, H., and Robinson, T. (2002) “School Composition and Peer Effects” International Journal of Educational Research 37 (5)