Childhood disability and educational attainment

Childhood disability & educational attainment: the impact of parental expectations and bullying is a policy briefing looking at what influences the attainment and educational decisions of young disabled people at key points in the English school system. It explores the extent to which the low rates of disabled young people attending university are a result of poor performance, or experiences of stigma resulting in low educational expectations and school bullying.

The briefing, produced by Lucinda Platt (LSE) and Stella Chatzitheochari (University of Warwick), outlines findings from research looking at children with a disability who took part in the Next Steps Study. It is part of a wider body of research looking at how young people from different backgrounds get on as they make the move from school to university or work.

Findings from the research show that young people with disabilities are more likely to enter secondary school with poorer results than their non-disabled peers, achieve less well at GCSE and be less likely to go to university. They also show that higher achieving disabled children are less likely to continue in education or go to university and that while bullying was partly to blame, the low expectations of disabled young people’s parents played a greater role.

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