Ethnicity – Crime and Deviance

Lesson objectiveTo explore different ethnicities’ educational achievement
Lesson outcomes• Assess different ethnicities achievement
• Evaluate their impact
• Explain how different ethnicities experience education

This section requires you to understand how different ethnicities in the UK have different educational experiences. A good idea to show off skills in your exam is to include some facts from studying the articles below in your exam.  The article is a research papers (with charts and diagrams about how ethnicities perform differently in the UK education system. Read the article here.

Generally, the effects of ethnicity and their educational experience can be separated into In-school factors and Out-school factors. Within In-school factors, you need to know to know the following:

1) Material deprivation

2) Cultural deprivation

3) Family structure

4) Language

External Factors.

Noon (2007) highlights an ever growing issue when talking about ethnicity in Britain. His study shows that racism is an active part in today’s culture, even if it is hidden away.  This ultimately reflects on these ethnic groups thus lowering their aspirations and ambitions. 

Material Deprivation.

Pakistani, Bangladeshi and African-Caribbean students have a higher than average rate of poverty, meaning that they are less likely to be able to afford important school equipment and uniforms. Healthy meals is also an issue which naturally has different effects such as illness etc. 

Cultural Deprivation. 

As already expressed above, by Noon, there is a cycle which allows some ethnic groups to call into being despondent and seeing education as not being important. It is important to be specific in this section and not to generalise. Some ethnic groups, such as Chinese and Indian families do succeed in education and often perform better than white British people. 

Family structure

Sewell (2010) plays great importance on role models in ethnic families. In Black Caribbean families living in the UK, the majority of them are single long parent households, unlike 22% of white children. This changes the way young black children are socialised as well as the norms and values that they absorb. 


Bereitier and Engelmann (1966) places great importance on language spoken at home and how it impacts student attainment. From studying the amount of students who are regarded to not have English as their native language from the 2013 School Census in England, we can see that although there has been a great influx, it is not detrimental to progress. Specific reference is given to Polish immigrants in 2005 who came to Britain. It is noted that these students performed as well and in some instances better the white British as they have higher aspirations to succeed in their new choice of country. 

Internal Factors.

When talking about external factors, you need to refer to these key elements:

1) Labelling

2) Institutional Racism

3) Impact of marketisation. 


Fuller (1984) researched black African-Caribbean girls in London and the effects of stereotypes. The findings were that teachers were labelled at being racist and thus the girls conformed to their negative stereotype. Sewell (1998) assessed teachers’ language such as using stereotype language. Teachers used language which they thought accurately described students, but which the student’s found perhaps offensive or stereotypical thus feeling labelled. Various policies have been put in place to help this issue known as compensatory education.

 Institutional Racism

Institutional racism is a key term which refers to intentionally, or unintentionally being racist. Examples are e.g. many schools do not have ethnic minorities in senior management positions, which students acknowledge. Schools need to ensure that their image reflects a multicultural society as students often seem oppressed. 

 The impact of marketisation.

There are many reasons in relation to marketisation, some are:

  1. Students who are EAL struggle to access lesson material as it is often in English using specialist knowledge.
  2. Ethnic minorities are still linked to poverty and thus lack cultural capital and thus often have places at weaker schools.
  3. Some of the best schools are long distances away for poorer students. This has a great impact on poorer students as their parents may not be able to afford the transport costs.
  4. Marketisation has placed a greater focus on ‘British Values’. This means that any cultures who are very different from British culture struggle. Although not an issue for most, there are a select few. This issue is called an ‘Ethnocentric Curriculum’. ​​

Real World Application

“Chinese and Indian pupils get more top grades at GCSE than British children”.

Read more: 

Michael Gove (Former education secretary) wants more British books taught in schools. This favour white middle class students over ethnic minorities.

Gillborn and Youdell (2000)

Gillborn and Youdell (2000) studied two secondary schools assessing the pressure on teachers in trying to provide opportunities. Gillborn and Youdell (2000) emphasises that schools are under more and more pressure to get students as many high grades as possible so students can get the best jobs in the capitalist economy. The result was an increase in standards, but an ever growing gap for ethnic minorities. 

Sewell (1997)

Sewell (1997) researched what teachers, peers and white students thought of African-Caribbeans within a city comprehensive school. ​The results were that school and external expectations such as clothing etc deepened racist and biased perception of black students with the aim of emphasising masculinity. A concluding note was that through interpretivism the complexity of ethnicity and internalisation is too complex and further studies are needed.

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