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White working-class boys becoming an underclass News Team…

The gap is widest among male teenagers from poor backgrounds, raising fresh fears that working class boys are becoming the education “underclass” in England. According to a Government report, just over one-in-20 white boys from poor homes goes on to university. This compares to 66 per cent of Indian girls and 65 per cent of young women from Chinese families.

An analysis published by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills said the rise in the number of women going to university over the last 10 or 20 years “had made the performance of males look relatively dismal”. Despite fears that women are much more likely to go to university, the report said ethnicity and social class had a “larger” bearing on staying on rates.

“In fact, in the case of ethnicity, it was overwhelmingly clear the young people from non-white backgrounds were much more likely to participate in higher education than their white peers with similar prior attainment,” said the study. Just six per cent of white boys eligible for free school meals went to university compared to 26 per cent of working class young men from ethnic minority backgrounds. Some 34 per cent of girls from deprived ethnic minority families went to university, according to researchers.

Young white men from poor homes were eight and a half times less likely to go to university than ethnic minority women from middle-class families. Overall, 58 per cent of men from Indian backgrounds and 66 per cent of women go on to university. Among Chinese families, 60 per cent of boys and 65 per cent of women go to university. Black Caribbean boys were the only group less likely to go to university than white boys.

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