White children in Britain’s poorest communities are failing in education because they largely come from unmarried families, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has said.
Writing in The Spectator, the CSJ’s Director of Policy Edward Davies blamed the 40-year trend in falling marriage rates for underachievement among those white pupils who qualify for free school meals.
Davies was commenting after the Education Committee inquiry ‘Left behind white pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds’, which identified a number of contributory factors to its findings, but ignored the importance of having two married parents to success in the classroom.
According to Davies, poor academic performance is not just about race, poverty, school funding or class, but about marriage.
Based on recent CSJ analysis of the annual Family Resources Survey, Davies said that “the disparity in marriage between rich and poor white families in the UK is very, very stark”.
the ultimate privilege in life is now a present father
He continued, “if you are born into a wealthier family, you have a 96 per cent chance of having two parents. In our poorest communities, your chances are just 28 per cent and falling”.
This meant, he added, that in ‘real terms’: “if you’re white and rich you get a dad, and if you’re white and poor you probably don’t. Teachers, mentors, youth clubs, and investment are all great, but the ultimate privilege in life is now a present father”.
If we care about kids, we should care about marriage
Davies argued: “There is no other form of relationship that offers anywhere near the same level of stability in any thriving culture in the whole of human history. If we care about kids, we should care about marriage.”
Let’s not pretend then that we have abandoned marriage for the benefit of children. We have done it solely for the freedom of adults.
He concluded: “Let’s not pretend then that we have abandoned marriage for the benefit of children. We have done it solely for the freedom of adults.”
In 2020, a report by the CSJ said that “children from stable families are less likely to be excluded and tend to do better at school, are less likely to be involved with the criminal justice system and have better employment outcomes”.