White British children are becoming “marginalized” as British schools adopt curriculums that celebrate multiculturalism, according to a new study.
White children – particularly from working-class families – are being “turned off” due to lessons that concentrate on diversity but do not reflect British culture, the survey by Lambeth Council and Goldsmith’s university has found.
Their problems are made worse by low expectations of academic success by their own families and a serious lack of spoken English skills, the research found.
All these factors combined mean that white working class students are consistently outpaced by every major ethnic minority group, particularly at GCSE’s.
Researchers interviewed 25 head teachers and deputies; 51 teachers and teaching assistants; 10 governors; 39 white working-class parents and 61 pupils at 14 schools in South London for the survey, titled ‘Raising the Achievement of White Working Class Pupils’.
Startlingly, a majority of parents complained of a lack of “white culture” at school which contributed to what they see as the “marginalization” of white children in multi-cultural Britain.
One head teacher told researchers that working class children had “lost their sense of identity” because there was “too much emphasis” on celebrating things like black history and cultural days such as Diwali and Portuguese Day.
Another said: “It is very difficult for the white children to identify culturally with the other, more dominant, cultures in the school. They aspire to Eminem or street culture and I would say that a lot of their role models are black. They speak in South London patois.”
The report recommended that the Government support schools to ‘develop a multicultural curriculum that treats White British identity in the same way as ethnic minorities’.
Researchers also called for parents and communities to raise their aspirations for white working class children and make them aware of life beyond television and games consoles.
One teacher told researchers that addiction to computer games and TV had made some primary school children only able to “grunt”.
The ‘language deficit’ is so severe children from white working-class homes need the same remedial support as those who have English as a second language, the report said.