Fostering academic resilience a brief review of the evidence base

Fostering academic resilience a brief review of the evidence base

Fostering academic resilience a brief review of the evidence base

Authors: Professor Angie Hart and Ms Steph Coombe, University of Brighton and boingboing social enterprise

Abstract

It is very clear that poor school outcomes can have catastrophic long term consequences, and there is growing recognition that schools should address ALL pupils’ needs, for myriad reasons, such as:

  • Gutman, Brown, Akerman, and Obolenskaya (2010 pv) writing “For the most part, emotional and behavioural difficulties followed by specific learning difficulties are the most frequent predictors of poor outcomes”.
  • “Children who behave poorly and are excluded, those unable to attend a mainstream school and those disengaged from education are a relatively small proportion of pupils. However, they include some of the young people with the worst prospects for success in later life, and most likely to develop problem behaviours” (DCSF, 2007 p84).
  • Overall, pupils with SEN achieve less at school academically, and only 16.5% achieve five or more A*-C GCSEs by Key Stage 4, compared to 61.3% of their non-SEN peers (DfE, 2011).
  • “…in terms of later life, poverty in childhood is one of the five most powerful and consistent predictors of subsequent disadvantage” (Layard & Dunn, 2009 p133).
  • The National CAMHS Review in 2008 reported that “Children and young people who live in families with a lone parent are also more prone to have a diagnosable mental disorder…Just as there are associations with family circumstances there are similar associations with educational attainment, absences from school, school exclusions, strength of friendship networks, physical health and offending behaviour” (DCSF, 2008 p6).
  • In their book “The Spirit Level”, Wilkinson and Pickett (2010) argue that in countries where income inequality is large, such as that seen in the United States and the UK, equates with poorer social relationships in communities, worsened mental health, shorter life expectancy, worse physical health e.g. obesity, poorer academic performance and higher teenage pregnancy rates, which contribute to “…an inter-generational cycle of deprivation” (p121).
  • Gutman et al (2010) found that 20% of boys between the ages of eight and ten who are from low socio-economic backgrounds, and are low achievers, experience declining or low levels of wellbeing during primary school.
  • “At present, a child from a low-income family is three times less likely than average to achieve good results at age 16” (dcsf, 2007 p76).
  • “…children from families experiencing multiple disadvantages are: more likely to be rated by their parents as well below average in English and mathematics; more likely to have been suspended or excluded from school; more likely to have poor social networks; and more likely to have been in trouble with the police than children from families with fewer or no family disadvantages” (Social Exclusion Task Force, 2007 p10). The Social Exclusion Task Force (2007 p23) write “Living in a deprived neighbourhood is also associated with an increased risk of poor mental and physical health for parents and behavioural problems for children”.

Resilience has become associated with approaches that tackle the problems outlined above. This brief review of the evidence explores what is meant by the term resilience and gives an overview of what schools can do to foster it in their pupils.

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