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Is there a diversity premium in Scottish schools? How have changing patterns of poverty and ethnic mix affected educational trajectories by ethnic group?

We are interested in whether changes in the ethnic/ cultural mix of pupils in schools can affect education outcomes for pupils from different backgrounds. Previous research (Burgess, 2014) has shown that white children from deprived households are likely to perform better if they are in schools with children of mixed ethnic backgrounds rather than in an all-white school. We seek to establish whether such an effect holds true in Scotland, to understand whether there are threshold effects and whether there is an optimal level of social and ethnic mix for educational outcomes. More generally, we are interested in establishing the degree and nature of ethnic inequality in educational outcomes.
Fragmentation of traditional working class communities through decentralisation and changing spatial ordering of poverty combined with influx of new ethnicities opens up a range of questions about the impacts on different socio-ethnic groups.
We focus in this paper on the impact on educational attainment. For example, we are interested in whether changes to the spatial ordering of poverty and ethnic mix have affected educational trajectories. We aim to disentangle neighbourhood affects from school ethnic composition effects, made possible through the linkage of the full Scottish Census in 2001 and 2011. We are also interested in whether there are tipping points in the impact of ethnic mix and in changes to the spatial ordering of poverty and we ask whether middle class and working class children do better or worse in ethnically mixed environments.

For further information about this research, please contact Professor Gwilym Pryce.



Research Team