The ‘ordinary working families’ fallacy




This post explores the emerging definition of learners from ‘ordinary working families’ and the evidence published to date about their educational performance and how well they are served in the education system.

It examines how learners from ordinary working families (hereafter referred to as ‘OWF learners’) fit within the broader visions for social mobility set out in recent speeches by the Prime Minister and her Education Secretary.

It questions why ministers are adopting what appears an overly complex hierarchy of disadvantage, distinguishing:

  • Above median income (AMI) learners: comparatively advantaged learners from families with equivalised household incomes above the median. Those from the wealthiest decile are occasionally singled out as a discrete sub-group.
  • OWF learners, from families with equivalised household incomes below the median and who are ineligible for the pupil premium.
  • Pupil premium learners: eligible for the deprivation element of pupil premium on the basis…

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