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December 22, 2008 / C H Thompson

Material factors

In 1964 Douglas conducted research which looked at the impact of income on attainment at school. He identified that material and cultural factors affected a child’s ability to achieve at school. Material factors include poverty, povertydiet, health and housing, while cultural factors include the values, attitudes and language.

The following presentation identifies all the material disadvantages uncovered by Douglas’ research.

A more recent piece of research by Lisa Harker (2006) also found a relationship between poor-quality housing and low attainment at school. Harker’s research found:

  1. Less space to play meant a restricted a child’s cognitive development
  2. There was less space to study
  3. Increased likelihood of being bullied at school which increased truancy rates
  4. Higher stress levels of the parents, leading to less support

Martha Farah (2006) researched the impact of socio-economic status on cognitive development and found that poverty had a direct impact on the development of a child’s brain which ultimately affected their attainment at school.

Furthermore the Sutton Trust (2005) found a direct relationship between free school meals and attainment. Leading state schools had had around 3% of their intake eligible for free school meals, whereas the majority of schools had 14.5% of their intake eligible for free school meals.

In 2014 The Guardian reported on the extent to which poverty is increasing the inequality between schools; particularly the growing gulf between children from low- and high-income families is starker than ever, leading to social isolation and bullying.

Douglas also found cultural factors played an important part in a child’s attainment at school. He particularly found that middle-class parents’ attitudes to education played a significant role in a child’s attainment at school because they were better at…..

A parents’ level of education also plays a major role in a child’s attainment at school. The higher a parents’ level of education the better they are at……

The influences of your cultural socialisation are explained further in the next page.

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Leave a Comment
  1. DoubleN / Mar 16 2015 9:39 pm

    All these studies relate to comprehensive schooling right ? If they are talking about the tripartite system they make that clear right .
    That is why some kids can get bullied at school by other fellows studying at their school . as it would make no sense if a poor student was being bullied by another poor student and then that leading to truancy .

    • DoubleN / Mar 17 2015 10:24 am

      In 2014 The Guardian reported on the extent to which poverty is increasing the inequality between schools; particularly the growing gulf between children from low- and high-income families is starker than ever, leading to social isolation and bullying. – who does the bullying ?
      The rich kids or the poor kids . I think its suppose to be the poor ones because they are the ones who are likely to form anti- pupil subcultures ?

      • C H Thompson / Mar 17 2015 3:23 pm

        Hi – the bullying tends to come from wealthier students teasing poorer students over things like not wearing branded clothing, having a poor quality smartphone or no smartphone, no holidays abroad etc
        Anti-school subcultures tend to be comprised of working-class students as identified by Ball Beachside Comprehensive who found working-class students occupied lower sets or streams.
        However Lacey found even grammar schools, which tend to be more middle-class institutions, have anti-school subcultures. This could be due to students who struggle more seeking to achieve their status from the subculture.

  2. DoubleN / Mar 16 2015 9:54 pm

    I want to ask something about past paper answering . I am giving CIE A level .
    We have marks for explaining the studies , so in that do we give our own explanations like with out supporting evidence . for example poor diet affects children : students are not able to get the right proportion of vitamins and minerals required to be physically and mentally fit ( keeping the brain healthy ) to prepare for their GCE . also has supplements are not so cheap to buy from the drug store for the working class families as their priorities are basic food and safety to keep them alive .
    Is this like correct ?
    Even like explaining why counter arguments are not so strong . can we justify them using what we think but valid and reasonably .
    Thank you verrry much .
    Sadly I haven’t received my books yet .

  3. DoubleN / Mar 17 2015 5:05 pm

    Thank you 🙂


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