Can we put the 'poverty of aspiration' myth to bed now? New research briefing from the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships | CPAG

Can we put the 'poverty of aspiration' myth to bed now? New research briefing from the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships

Published on: 
18 December 2017

This briefing paper, published in December 2017 by Morag Treanor of CRFR, uses responses from parents and children in the birth cohort study Growing Up in Scotland to dispel the myth of the ‘poverty of aspiration’ widely used in education and policy circles in Scotland and beyond.

"The problem with the ‘poverty of aspiration’ as a concept is not only that the research evidence does not support it, but also that it passes the responsibility for a presumed lack of aspirations onto parents and children. In so doing it shifts responsibility away from local and central government, and schools to children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Attempting to close the attainment gap by raising aspirations is unlikely to succeed because it is based on false assumptions about low aspirations."

Key points

  • The poverty of aspiration is a myth that transfers responsibility for aspirations and achievement from governments and schools to parents and children
  • School is important to, and for, children living in poverty
  • All parents want the best for their child(ren) but lower income parents are less likely to know what is possible or how to achieve it
  • Lower income parents are less likely to know how to support their child’s education.

Click here to read the briefing paper.