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Surveying the views of pupils attending supplementary schools in England

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Background Supplementary schooling broadly refers to extra schooling organized by and for particular ethnic groups outside of mainstream provision. Purpose This is the first study to systematically explore the attitudes of pupils attending supplementary schools in England and the largest ever UK study of supplementary schools and their pupils. Sample The sample comprised 772 pupils aged 5-16 years attending 63 supplementary schools in four major cities in England. Design and methods Pupils completed a questionnaire to determine their attitudes to mainstream and to supplementary school; their attitudes to and self-evaluation of their achievement in reading and mathematics; their attitude to learning and learning activities; their reasons for attending supplementary school; and their likes and dislikes about supplementary school, as well as other pupil background data. Statistical analyses explored the effect of age, gender and length of attendance in relation to questionnaire responses. Results and conclusions Pupils attending supplementary schools experience extremely high levels of educational disadvantage well above the national average. Pupils were very positive in their attitudes to supplementary school, and from age 7 upwards were significantly more positive about supplementary school than they were about mainstream school. Pupils valued gaining general support for their educational improvement, a deeper understanding of their home language or culture, specific help with learning English and mathematics, help with other mainstream school work, social activities, using computers and ICT, and the positive support of their supplementary school teachers. The pupils who had been attending a supplementary school the longest had the highest scores for attitudes to learning and learning activities, and attitudes to and evaluation of their achievement in maths. However, further research is needed to identify any causal linkage between supplementary schooling and education-related outcomes.
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Keywords: Attitudes; Community school/education; Educational achievement/attainment; Ethnicity; Learning; Supplementary school/education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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