Disability differentials in educational attainment

Disability differentials in educational attainment in England: primary and secondary effects is research by Stella Chatzitheochari and Lucinda Platt published in the British Journal of Sociology (not open access).

The research investigates the educational transitions of young disabled people using data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. It finds that disability differentials in transition rates to full‐time academic upper secondary education and to university are largely the result of primary effects, reflected in differences in school performance between disabled and non‐disabled young people. However, there is also evidence of secondary effects, with similarly achieving disabled young people less likely to pursue full‐time academic upper secondary education compared to their non‐disabled peers.

The research examines the extent to which these effects can be explained by a disabled young person’s suppressed educational expectations as well as their experiences of being bullied at school, which is linked to the stigma experienced by disabled young people and their families. It concludes that educational expectations play an important role at crucial transitions in the English school system, while the effect of bullying is considerably smaller.