Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK


Education

Single parents 'not a disadvantage' for pupils

Single parents do not harm their children's education, says research

Children brought up by single parents are at no greater educational disadvantage than those raised by a couple, says a large study in the United States.

One in five children in the UK is born to a single parent. Some previous research suggests that they are more likely to do badly at school than children from more traditional families.

But research by developmental psychologist Henry Ricciuti from Cornell University in New York says this is misleading.

He believes this has not looked at the influence of a mother's education and coping skills on her children.

In one of the largest projects of its kind. Dr Ricciuti studied 1,700 children between six and eight years old.

He found that children of single parents did just as well on vocabulary, reading and mathematics tests as those from two-parent families.

And they were no more likely to have behavioural problems.

"I did not find any evidence for single parenthood being a risk in its own right," Dr Ricciuti told New Scientist magazine.

Poverty

However, single parent families were twice as likely to fall below the poverty line.

But poverty was not the most important factor for educational disadvantage, he found.

He concludes that a mother's level of education and her coping skills are more important than the effects of poverty, at least for the younger children he studied.

It comes after a report by the Institute of Education in the UK found that poverty and a mother's academic ability influenced a child's educational development much more than whether their mother worked.

It also revelaed that children of unemployed parents fared significantly worse than others and those brought up in social housing were more aggressive and had fewer reading and maths skills than average.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


Education Contents

Features
Hot Topics
UK Systems
League Tables

Relevant Stories

13 Oct 99 | UK
Working mothers 'can harm babies' learning'





Internet Links


Department for Education and Employment

Cornell University

New Scientist


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

'Golden hellos' fail to attract new teachers

Children join online Parliament

Pupils 'too ignorant to vote'

Red tape toolkit 'not enough'

Poor report for teacher training consortium

Specialist schools' results triumph

Ex-headmaster guilty of more sex charges

Blunkett welcomes Dyke's education commitment

Web funding for specialist teachers

Local authorities call for Woodhead's sacking

Dyslexic pensioner wins PhD

Armed forces children need school help

Black pupils 'need better-trained teachers'

College 'is not cool'