Lower educational expectations found among disabled youth and their parents, study finds
A new study has investigated the relationship between disability and academic performance and choices, by examining the data of 16,000 young people across England on the National Pupil Database. Disability was defined as "long-term physical, mental, and emotional conditions that influence school attendance and ability to complete school work".
The study has found that low expectations held by disabled students and their parents, regardless of their school performance, is the greatest contributor in the decision not to pursue full-time education after GCSEs.
Disabled students were considerably less likely than non-disabled students to achieve good grades (5+ A*-C) at GCSE, however even the disabled students who did perform well were 10% less likely to continue to full time secondary education.
The biggest factor in this differential was the expectation that disabled students had about attending university. Comparing students of similar social backgrounds found that disabled students were 15% more likely to have lower expectations about attending university. Even comparing students of similar educational attainment found that disabled students were 10% more likely to have lower expectations about attending university.
The study also found that parents of disabled students often had lower educational expectations for them, regardless of how they had performed. The researchers suggest that could be a result of anxiety for their child's future, as well as concerns about discrimination and lack of support at university.
"[lower parental expectations] can result from both informal and institutional labelling, and also from a wholly understandable parental desire to protect disabled children from anticipated discrimination or stigma at university or in the workplace," said Dr Stella Chatzitheochari, one the of researchers.
Image taken by Dr. Marcus Gossler