Black and Asian parents are more ambitious in their attempts to get their children into good schools, a Cambridge University student has found.
Only a minority of parents (39 per cent) choose their local school as their first option, the research showed, with white families more likely to put their local school as their top choice even if it is not particularly good.
Meanwhile, Black or Asian children, or those who speak English as a second language, are on average more likely to apply to schools that are further away from where they live but have perform better academically.
Researchers from Cambridge and Bristol universities found that there is a “striking difference” between different ethnicities when it comes to school choice.
They analysed the background characteristics of more than half a million children in England, and gave each secondary school in the country a score based on its how many students achieved at least five GCSEs with grades of A* to C.
Children from Asian families apply to schools that score seven percentage points on average more than schools that their peers from white families apply to, while those from black families apply to schools that score six percentage points more.
Professor Simon Burgess, one of the report’s authors, said: “We interpret this as being about ambition and an understanding that education and schools are a way to get on in life. “You can’t always get into the school that you want.
But Asian and black families are more likely to apply to the further away, better school, to try and get into a high quality school. White British families more likely to settle for the closer more mediocre school, and more likely to get in.”
The research, published in the Oxford Review of Education, found that Black or Asian families or those who speak English as a second language also make more use of the school choice system.
41 per cent of White British households only make one choice, compared to 17 per cent of Asian households and 12 per cent of Black households.
But despite making more choices, children who speak English as a second language have a lower chance of receiving an offer from their first-choice school which researchers say could be because they were picking more ambitious schools.
Source: The Telegraph