A case study to elucidate any differences in self-esteem between key stage three pupils in receipt of free school meals and their peers
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Child poverty is a powerful indictor of low academic achievement in modern Britain. Children who come from low income families qualify for Free School meals (FSM), and as such their academic progress can be tracked throughout their schooling. Pupils who receive FSM are academically outpaced by their peers at every key stage, with the achievement gap widening as the pupils get older. Although many hypotheses have been suggested for this gap, the exact reasons are unclear. This study uses surveys to analyse attitudinal differences and differences in self-esteem between key stage three pupils in receipt of FSM and their peers. It was found that key stage three pupils who receive FSM are statistically significantly less likely to have a positive view of themselves and their place in the school system than their peers. Pupils in receipt of FSM scored lower in every measure of self-esteem than their peers. There were also significant attitudinal differences between the two groups of pupils. These differences were most pronounced in the dimensions of “feelings about school”, suggesting pupils in receipt of FSM do not feel wholly enculturated into the school environment. Large differences emerged in the response of pupils in receipt of FSM in the areas of; “preparedness for learning”, general work ethic and “response to curriculum demands” in comparison to their peers. This coupled with significantly different ideas about perceived parental pressure to do well academically, paint a picture of children whose home life and view of self, do not prepare them for the demands of high school. Consequentially, many of these children do not engage as successfully with school culture as their peers do and thus the cycle of poor self-esteem is perpetuated.
MA Education - Dissertation
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