Education Topic 7 - Material factors and deprivation as a cause of under-attainment


Leonard Feinstein, material poverty and deprivation

  • In 2013, Feinstein analysed data from the 1970 Birth Cohort Study

  • He found test scores at 22 months predicted educational attainment at 26 years and were related to family backgrounds

  • Children from poor backgrounds who achieved well at 22 months were often overtaken by poor attainers from wealthy backgrounds

Material deprivation: Material deprivation can be defined as the inability to afford basic resources and services such as sufficient food and heating


Which children are likely to experience material deprivation?

  • Those whose families are in debt

  • Some ethnic minorities

  • Children from benefit-dependent families such as the disabled

  • Children from lone parent families

  • Workless households

  • Those living in London and the South of England

  • Large families with many children

  • Family breakdown and instability

  • Poor levels of parental education and skills

  • Children in former industrial areas such as the South Wales valleys

Poverty and Policy

  • Government data shows a clear link between childhood and adult poverty

  • People find is difficult to escape from the effects of poverty in their childhood lives

  • The link between educational qualifications and earnings is not up for debate

  • Whilst some people do well without a formal education, this is very rare

  • The largest single predictor of adult poverty is the educational qualification level of the father

  • The ONS (office of national statistics) suggests that children have a 7.5 higher chance of poor educational attainment if their fathers did badly in school

  • For most people, the best route


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