The term disadvantage in education is commonly spoken and is used to describe various group and traits of student and pupils. I am under no illusion that we live any form of a system which could be referred to as a meritocracy.
‘Disadvantaged’ I have been thinking about the connotations of phrase and the actuality. When I hear ‘disadvantaged’, I think of the people involved, after years of being challenged have I started to make the link between the phrase and the causes of the disadvantages and not people themselves.'Disadvantaged' I have been thinking about the connotations of phrase and the actuality. When I hear 'disadvantaged'… Click To Tweet
If you receive free school meals in school, you are less likely to perform at the same rates as someone who does not (ignoring the problem with the way free school meals and pupil premium are attributed for the minute). This is true, and yes, it could be argued that being in this group gives you a disadvantage. However, let’s dig a little deeper.
These pupils are disadvantaged because society inflicts this ‘disadvantage’ upon them. Pupils who in these groups are not disadvantaged because of the root of the label; being poorer does not impact on your academic ability or potential. What being poorer may do is change on parents’ ability to spend quality educational time with their children. It may impact on their parents’ ability to expose their children to activity deemed to increase their ‘social and cultural capital’.These pupils are disadvantaged because society inflicts this 'disadvantage' upon them. Click To Tweet
None of these examples is due to parents of the child; they are 100% the fault of our society. We subscribe to a system which holds these people behind and then (victim) blame them when they are held back as a result.
I’m seriously thinking about my use of language around ‘disadvantage’. There is an argument to say we should worry too much about words, but I don’t subscribe to this narrative. Words lead to thought, thoughts lead to actions.I'm seriously thinking about my use of language around 'disadvantage'. Click To Tweet
What are the options? Overlooked or be more accurate, failed (by society) groups. Yes, that may feel uncomfortable, but these people are let down by us.