Inequality is far from academic

4th December 2015 at 00:00

I was disappointed with a number of points raised in last week’s article, “Poor students more likely to opt for subjects that entrench inequality”.

I am faculty head of business, computing, design and technology in a very mixed catchment school, with high achieving learners from all 10 deciles; data show that there is no disparity between the results my pupils achieve, their ambitions and their background. My subjects do not entrench inequality.

The research quoted makes several references to “traditional subjects” and “academic subjects”. I find this to be elitist and outdated. The article does not make it clear that the original research is based on the Russell Group’s Informed Choices (which contains only 24 of the UK’s 163 universities). It also fails to mention the great work being carried out around developing the workforce and the many routes into university today.

Linking parental social class to “traditional subjects” is also unhelpful. If we are to close the attainment gap, we need to equip young people with the skills and qualifications relevant to today’s workforce. Telling young people that “dropping academic subjects is detrimental to their prospects” will not achieve that aim.

Alan Hamilton

Head of business and technologies, Stirling High School

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