What are the factors underlying the high educational performance – ‘overachievement’ – of Bangladeshi-heritage primary-school pupils?

PhD Thesis

Al-Bayati, M (2016). What are the factors underlying the high educational performance – ‘overachievement’ – of Bangladeshi-heritage primary-school pupils? PhD Thesis London South Bank University School of Law and Social Sciences https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.001842
AuthorsAl-Bayati, M
TypePhD Thesis

This thesis examines the ‘over-achievement’1
of UK Bangladeshi-heritage pupils in the
National Curriculum Standard Assessment Tests (SATS) at Key Stage (KS) 2 (year 6; ages 10-
11) in schools in an inner-city borough.
The research involved four schools in one of the poorest urban areas of the country.2 The initial
attraction for choosing these schools was due to my experience working as a teacher in one and
noticing that it consistently attained results above the national average in KS2 SATS while
nationally pupils of Bangladeshi-heritage attained below the average. This over-achievement
had been noted by Ofsted and generated media attention.3
The aims of this research were to identify and investigate the factors underlying this relative
over-achievement of primary-school pupils from a Bangladeshi ethnic background and
heritage. My experience as a teacher provided me with insight into the value that education
held within Bangladeshi-heritage communities. It was unsurprising, therefore, to find this overachievement.
I approached the phenomenon from a different perspective: why weren’t
Bangladeshi-heritage communities in other areas doing as well, given their sub-cultural
emphasis on education – an asset of their ethnic capital.
Using qualitative methodology – thematic analysis – I interviewed pupils, parents and many
other significant actors involved in the education of primary pupils in the four over-achieving
schools. I had no preconceived thesis. My theoretical conclusions emerged from the data.
While gender, ethnicity and social class all influence educational outcomes, it was the schools’
inclusive ethos that seemed to exert the greatest positive influence.
‘Overachievement’ refers to the above the national average results in Key Stage 2 Standard Assessment Tests
received by Bangladeshi-heritage pupils in the four schools studied (see Appendix 1 for the Key Stage 2 SAT
2 Yet the borough values education. In 2010-11, the guaranteed funding per pupil was £6,792 compared to the
national average which was at least £2,500 lower (see Appendix 2 for the Index of Multiple of Deprivation 2010).
3 See BBC Race UK survey 2005, Mike Baker ‘Educational Achievement’.

PublisherLondon South Bank University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.18744/PUB.001842
Publication dates
Print01 Apr 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Feb 2018
Publisher's version
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