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Social Exclusion, Education and Opportunity

Rt Hon David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education, will give a major speech on "Social exclusion and the politics of opportunity" to the LSE's Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) and the think-tank DEMOS on Wednesday 3 November .

The same day, CASE publishes a new research review which shows how educational differences are crucial in generating and sustaining social exclusion.

The paper, Schools, Education and Social Exclusion by Jo Sparkes is a review commissioned by CASE from the LSE's Centre for Educational Research of the literature and research evidence on education and social exclusion. This highlights key research findings, including that:

Low educational achievement increases the risk of adult exclusion in many ways

Test scores at schools are strong predictors of adult outcomes

Adults with low basic skills are five times as likely to be unemployed as those with average skills. Poor numeracy is especially important.

The gap between top and bottom achievers at school has been widening.

Two-thirds of variation between Local Education Authorities in school performance is associated with the proportion of children from families receiving income support.

But school factors can make a difference to attainment. Spending, class sizes and teacher quality all matter for outcomes.

A summary of the paper is attached. For an advance copy of the text of the whole paper (CASE paper 29), contact Jane Dickson at CASE on T: 020 7955 6679.

Anne West, Director of LSE's Centre for Educational Research, said: 'This review pulls together the most recent research about education and its impact on social exclusion, showing that education is a crucial factor in both driving and combating it. This makes government policy - and Mr Blunkett's addition to the debate - of key importance to this policy priority. The evidence shows that the government faces a difficult task raising the standards of the most disadvantaged pupils.'


For comments on the paper contact:

Dr Anne West, CER, on T: 020 7955 7269
Professor Howard Glennerster, CASE, on T: 020 7955 7557
Professor John Hills, CASE, on T: 020 7955 7419

NOTE: The CASE/Demos lecture will be at the LSE's Hong Kong Theatre (99 Aldwych) on Wed 3 November at 6.30pm. David Blunkett will be available for comments to the press from 6.10pm. Journalists wanting further information or to attend the lecture should contact:

Judith Higgin, LSE Press Office, on T: 020 7955 7582.
Jim Campbell, DfEE Press Office, on T: 020 7925 5108.

2 November 1999