2014 YOUNG PARLIAMENT
AT CHEW VALLEY SCHOOL
NARROWING THE GAP
June 26th 2014, Young Parliament
Under the generic theme of narrowing the Gap, the host school students chose to debate Poverty, Ethnicity, Gender and State and Private Education. These formed the topic areas for four separate workshops which the students ran in collaboration with an adult leader.
Young people worked across different schools and youth groups to debate their selected theme and to produce a presentation for the whole parliament to vote on as the most compelling idea. The winning theme was Gender.
Gender stereotyping can be detrimental to both girls’ and boys’ sense of self and limit their educational and career choices.
Some common stereotypes: girls are seen as weak, soft and emotional while boys are seen as physically strong and mentally tough; girls like to shop and boys like to play sport; boys will go in for jobs in engineering, mechanics, and science, while girls will opt for caring roles, cooking, cleaning and teaching.
90% of engineers are boys, 65% of nurses are girls. Women who are leaders are often labelled as bossy, men as authoritative. In school, there is still a gender gap in subject performance. Boys do better at Maths than girls. There are three boys to every girl in top Maths sets. There is a huge gender pay differential in favour of males. In the UK it is 20% while in the rest of Europe it is 5%.
Narrowing the Gap –
Parents and teachers should challenge offensive terms such as ‘Don’t be such a girl’, ‘Man up.’ They should react to sexism.
Establish equalities groups in schools, have campaigns to ban ‘bossy’, ‘no more Page 3’, ‘Girls can play football too.’
Both genders supported equally in sport.
No sexual intimidation.
Women will always be the ones to have babies but for too long this has been an excuse not to see them as equal with men in the work place. More consideration needs to be given to maintaining their status and developing their career aspirations whilst having a family.
Poverty makes us feel:
missing out on experiences
less robust mentally
Some of the effects of poverty on young people:
missing out on opportunities
not being able to do the same things as friends
having to make excuses because you can’t afford something
not being able to do extra-curricular activities because of the cost.
University fees at 9k per annum represent an insurmountable barrier for many young people. Whilst there is financial support for the very poorest families, university can be very expensive in other ways: rental, bills, travel, food, books, field trips. Some students from poorer families cannot afford to go to the better universities, their choice being restricted to the cheaper lower grade universities.
Narrowing the gap – subsidised out of school activities by councils or local charities that help young people from poorer families access activities publicised through social media.
The government should take a more realistic view of the cost of going to university and the effects of not being able to compete with more affluent students who are in a better position to get the higher paid jobs.
As a nation we are not very comfortable at talking about ethnicity. Sometimes this is because we are worried about offending others by not saying the right thing. Negative perceptions of what other cultures are like arises from fear and ignorance but these two conditions can also feed prejudice. Through the media we come to judge other cultures and countries as being or creating problems, or involved in war, violence and disasters. Politicians, such as Michael Gove present a blanket definition of BME as meaning all other ethnic groups, and, in the context of education, all other ethnic groups, according to Gove, are doing less well than white English people.
Narrowing the gap – culture should be understood and celebrated for its values, beliefs, the way things are done, its festivals, music, art, literature and stories. Adults have a responsibility for encouraging the young to be tolerant and accepting of other cultures and countries. More thought and consideration needs to be given to religious needs – prayer times and feast days. Difference should be celebrated.
STATE AND PRIVATE EDUCATION
Some common stereotypes/perceptions of teachers –
Private school teachers have: State school teachers are:
Masters Degrees Engaging
Influence Firm but fair
Perceptions of private schools are that they outperform state schools; pupils take more of the places at top universities, have greater career prospects, go into higher paid jobs. However, the current position is that the top achieving school in the country is a state school; and academic performance overall is 50 – 50 between state and private.
Pros of State schools Pros of Private schools
Diversity Better facilities
Don’t have to pay More opportunities
Less elitism Higher grades
Less discrimination 5 times the amount of money per student
More independent learning Smaller classes
Not just focused on academic More funding for extra curricular activities
More focus on equal opportunity Social status and networking
Narrowing the Gap – It’s not whether it is state or private, it’s whether it is a good school. What makes a good school? Good facilities, able and well-qualified teachers who have a passion for their subject and can control a class, social/geographical mix, extensive extra-curricular activities, wide range of curricular options at GCSE and A Levels, smaller classes.
Key Note Speakers: Ed Joseph B&NES MYP
Holly Dando, Equalities Champion, Chew Valley School
Chairing the event: Gabe Kelly, Ollie Wright, Chew Valley School
Gender: Marcia Burgham, Teenage Pregnancy Training and Development Officer, Megan Bendall, Jocelyn Barker, Chew Valley School students.
Ethnicity: Mark de Lisser, Black Families Education Support Worker, Gabriella Kemp, Davey Armstrong, Chew Valley School students.
Poverty: Jamie Luck, Project Director, Mentoring Plus, Gabe Kelly, Julia Head, Joe Thompson-Smith, Chew Valley School students.
State – v- Private Education: Cllr Liz Hardman, Rosie Pope, George Phillips, Ollie Wright, Chew Valley School students.
Participating schools and groups: Chew Valley School, Three Ways School, Fosseway School, Ralph Allen School, Writhlington School, Prior Park School, Oldfield Academy, St Mark’s School, Norton Hill School, Broadlands School, St Gregory’s School, Wellsway School, Hayesfield School, Mentoring Plus, Black Families.