The Decline of the English Working Class

White working-class boys have become the new “underclass”, a report by Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, warns today.

Boys from low-income white families are bottom of the heap in school performance, trailing behind every other major ethnic group.

A teenage boy on an estate in Glasgow. Duncan Smith says we risk creating a class of unemployable young white males
The report argues that family breakdown, parental breakdown and peer pressure that it is not “cool to study” are the key factors in the collapse in educational achievements. It also cites drug and alcohol abuse by parents.

The bleak findings are spelt out in a study published by the Social Justice Policy Group that Mr Duncan Smith was asked to lead by David Cameron, the Conservative leader. The report stresses that only 17 per cent of white working-class boys managed to gain five or more A to C grades at GCSE.

This contrasts with the 19 per cent recorded by black Caribbean boys from poor backgrounds, who are traditionally seen as the ethnic group with the worst educational achievement.

advertisementOther groups have significantly better results. Around seven out of 10 boys from working-class Chinese families get at least five A to C grades at GCSE, while the figure for Indian boys is around 40 per cent.

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