School, family, neighbourhood: which is most important to a child's education?

GB Leckie, RJ Pillinger, Jennifer Jenkins, JR Rasbash

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle (Specialist Publication)

Abstract

Children grow up in complex social environments. The influences on a child’s development are many, and multi-layered. The school they go to, the family around them, and the neighbourhood they grow up in are often highlighted as particularly important for children’s educational achievements. But which is the most important?

Knowledge of the relative effects of schools, neighbourhoods and families is needed to help inform decisions about the allocation of government resources to programmes and policies that will support children’s learning.

In this study we follow half a million English school children through secondary schooling. We use cross-classified multilevel statistical models to estimate the impact of the different influences of children’s complex social environments on their academic progress. Our final model differentiates, for the first time, between the effects of the family and of the pupil, and estimates the influence of the family-shared environment separately from those of the wider shared environments of schools and areas. We unite school effectiveness studies and family research under a single framework and therefore disentangle the various influences on children’s progress.

Our results show families account for 40% of the overall variation between children in their academic progress during secondary schooling; the wider shared environments of primary school (9%), secondary school (10%), neighbourhood (2%) and LEA (1%) account for 22%; children themselves account for the remaining 38%.
Translated title of the contributionSchool, family, neighbourhood: which is most important to a child's education?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
VolumeSummer
Specialist publicationMethodsNews: Newsletter from the ESRC National Centre for Research
PublisherESRC National Centre for Research
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Title of Journal: MethodsNews: Newsletter from the ESRC National Centre for Research
Page From: 4
Page To: 4

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