West of England Education Centre

What is Educational Under-Achievement?

This refers to any gap between the underlying potential of the person and what they are actually achieving in school/college/university.

Consider, for example, the following scenarios:

Early promise fizzles out

This is the child who appears to be bright, maybe walking/talking early and possibly excelling in Nursery and Foundation stages of education but then starts to struggle as more formal educational demands are made upon them, despite remaining ‘bright’ to family and friends outside of school.

This could also include ‘unfulfilled promise’ for the child/young person who was expected to do well academically, but as academic demands increased, examination results were disappointing, hopes for the future were dashed and confidence and self-esteem severely damaged, as a result.

The ‘lazy’ child

So many children have been wrongly labelled ‘lazy’ because they cannot easily settle down to study, appear to give up too easily, are very disorganised and/or much prefer to be doing something else such as socialising/outdoor/creative activities.

When you ask them if they would like to achieve more academically, however, more often than not, they say they definitely would, but don’t know how.

Late developer / ‘bloomer’

This is the student, likely to be an older teenager or adult, who has a very unremarkable educational history, but then surprises everyone with pleasing results in examinations or in later working life. As a parent, however, they might then start to worry that their own children would have similar experiences, which they would like to avoid.

School Phobic / Angry student

This can be a child/young person who is reacting against the school experience either by avoiding school with tummy aches, headaches, tantrums/tears etc. or who becomes angry and frustrated, at home and/or at school. Some will even do what they can to be sent home from school!

These children/young people can often been transformed after identifying their strengths and practical ways forward to enable them to achieve their academic potential.