‘Aspirations and attainment in deprived communities’ is a joint project between the Social Exclusion Task Force, DCSF and CLG. It explores the potential to raise the attainment of young people in deprived communities, by raising aspirations and changing attitudes within these communities.
- Young people in certain types of neighbourhood are less likely to develop high aspirations. These neighbourhoods tend to have high levels of deprivation.
- However, not all deprived communities are the same. Our analysis has shown that in some very deprived communities – often ethnically diverse, mobile, urban neighbourhoods – young people tend to have high aspirations for the future. In other areas – often traditional working class communities in ex-industrial areas – low aspirations may be preventing young people from achieving their potential.
- Certain community characteristics are associated with low aspirations – such as insular social networks, low population mobility and a sense of decline. These may be close knit, strong and cohesive communities. However, people may lack more diverse connections with people and places outside their immediate neighbourhood.
- Young people’s aspirations have a significant influence on their educational attainment and future outcomes. 11-14 is a key age range, when young people move from idealistic to more realistic ambitions.
- Aspirations vary by gender, ethnicity, social class and area deprivation. White boys have the lowest aspirations. The educational attainment of white boys is also failing to improve at the rates of most other ethnic groups.
- Parents are the most important influence on children. But young people and their parents are also influenced by the people and places where they live.