Boys from Ethnic Groups More Likely To Face School Expulsion

April 12, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. expel 
[ik-SPEL] (v.) – to remove a person’s membership in a school or other organization
Example: The school expelled Alan for his bad behavior.

2. special needs [SPESH-uh l needz] (n.) – the specific things needed by individuals with medical, physical or mental disabilities
Example: Children with special needs should get proper care and guidance to help develop their skills.

3. disadvantaged [dis-uh d-VAN-tijd, -VAHN-] (adj.) – lacking life’s basic needs such as money, food, housing, education, etc.
Example: The government created employment programs to help disadvantaged youths.

4. level the playing field [LEV-uh l th uh PLEY-ing feeld] (idiom) – to create a fair situation by giving equal opportunities to everyone
Example: Scholarship grants can level the playing field between rich and poor college students.

5. deep-seated [DEEP-SEE-tid] (adj.) – formed strongly and difficult to change
ExampleDeep-seated issues such as racism have been present since historical times.

Read the text below.

A new report from the Children's Commissioner for England says that the students' background and their chances of being expelled from school are strongly connected.

According to the report by Dr. Maggie Atkinson, children with special needs may be expelled nine times more likely than other students, while boys are three times more likely to be removed from school than girls. Moreover, children with ethnic backgrounds are three to four times more likely to be expelled. The report studied schools in England from 2010 to 2011.

Dr. Atkinson added that if children belong to more than one category, their chances of being expelled increases. For instance, a black, male student with special needs is 168 times more likely to be expelled than a white, female student with the same condition.

Dr. Atkinson then suggested that a male child who is likely to be dismissed from school might lead a difficult life in the future. Expelled students might end up unemployed and live poorly later on.

Therefore, schools must know that some students need more support and attention than others, said Dr. Atkinson.

Although some schools do a good job in helping disadvantaged students, schools should not be expected to solve the problem without aid, Dr. Atkinson added. Schools, by themselves, cannot level the playing field because varied factors outside the school also affect the child's life.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said expulsion reflects deep-seated issues in society that can only be addressed if the government cooperates.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Why do you think boys are more likely to be expelled from school than girls?
·         How can schools help students who are at risk of being expelled?

Discussion B

·         Can a person’s background (e.g. economic, cultural, religious, etc.) determine the outcome of his or her life? Please explain your answer
·         How do you think people from different backgrounds can get fair opportunities in education or employment?


April 12, 2013