Last year, for Black History Month, we wrote about pupils' learning and wellbeing experiences, looking at the ethnic and racial disparities in English schools. We have continued to collect data over the 22/23 academic year on crucial areas of pupils' experience and wellbeing and will look at some of the changes over the last year. 

Representation in the curriculum

The data from our Pupil Experience and Wellbeing survey shows that pupils of Any Other Ethnic Group (48%) are 21% more likely to rarely or never feel that the curriculum reflects people like them than White British/Irish Students (27%). Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups (16%) and  Black/African/Caribbean/Black British students (18%) are the least likely to feel that the curriculum reflects them Very or Quite often. Across the student body, we see a decrease in the percentage of pupils in 2022/23 who feel that the curriculum reflects people like them.

Sophie Thompson from the Head Teacher recently highlighted that Pearson’s report on Diversity and Inclusion in Schools reveals that four out of five UK teachers believe that more could be done to incorporate and celebrate diverse cultures, people and experiences in UK education and curriculum. There is particular scope for this in English and literacy, where over a quarter (27 per cent) of teachers felt that the curriculum isn’t diverse enough. Sophie also drew on data from CLPE’s (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) Reflecting Realities report, which showed that just seven per cent of children’s books published in the last three years featured characters of colour, and only five per cent had BAME main characters.

Classroom Experience

In the 2022/23 Academic year, we can see that Asian/Asian British pupils and Black/African/Caribbean/Black British pupils were the most likely to feel “very/quite confident” about working independently. 

One question where there are visible racial disparities in English Schools in pupils' experiences is “How often do you feel that your teachers treat you fairly?” We can see from this graph that Black/African/Caribbean/Black British students are the least likely to feel that teachers treat them fairly “Always/Very often” or “Quite often”. Whereas pupils from Asian/Asian British and White British/Irish Pupils are most likely to feel that teachers treat them fairly “Always/Very often” or “Quite often”.

Out-of-School Responsibilities

When looking at our question, “How much other work or responsibilities do you have besides school (looking after siblings, etc.)?, We generally see that Black/African/Caribbean/Black British pupils, Any Other Ethnic Group pupils, and Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups pupils, are most likely to have “ A lot” or “Quite a lot” other work or responsibilities do you have besides school. White British/Irish pupils are the least likely to have other work or responsibilities do you have besides school. 

Our data shows that pupils from non-white backgrounds are experiencing increased work responsibilities outside of school in the 22/23 academic year compared to 2021/2. The Race Equality Foundation highlight in their Education Briefing Paper that Persistent economic and environmental factors will continue to act disproportionately on learning and development, impacting all education phases. Such factors will manifest in further limitations for students to find learning spaces to develop fluency and confidence through practice, concentration and support.

Listen to Pupils’ Experiences using Surveys

Schools can take note of students' experiences and learn a lot from regularly engaging with students. This can take shape through school council student forums, Anonymous honesty boxes, school surveys, Student council forums and many other ways. 

Surveying pupils is a fantastic way to understand pupils' experiences and wellbeing better. The Edurio Pupil Learning Experience and Wellbeing Survey gather feedback from students about their classroom learning experience and wellbeing. Uncovering student perceptions is essential as it strongly correlates with learning outcomes and can be a significant improvement tool for schools and academies.

Some critics of survey-led feedback research suggest that only those with the most extreme views will respond to the questions, leading to extreme response bias. 

However, as we have highlighted in the past, we believe that if they have a view and wish to express it, this is valuable information that cannot be ignored. These viewpoints can highlight situations and experiences that policymakers and school leaders value when identifying where provision has failed some individuals. 

Edurio can help you to find the most effective ways to improve pupils' wellbeing and learning experience within your organisation by supporting you to run our Pupil Wellbeing Survey. Fill out the form below, and we will contact you shortly.