Ethnic disproportionality in the identification of Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Needs: A national longitudinal cohort age 5-11.

28th October 2019 : 12:45 - 14:00

Category: Seminar

Research Group: Quantitative Methods Hub

Speaker: Steve Strand, University of Oxford

Location: The Old Library, Lady Margaret Hall.

Seminar Extract


In the US the over-representation of Black (African American) students in the special education category of Emotional Disturbance is well established (e.g. Donovan & Cross, 2002) and similar results are reported for Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs for some Black groups in England (Strand & Lindsay, 2009). However recent US research has claimed that after control for prior attainment and socio-economic circumstances Black American students are actually under-represented for SEN relative to their White peers (e.g., Morgan et al, 2015; 2017). This paper uses national administrative data from England to conduct a longitudinal analysis of the identification of SEMH among over 550,000 pupils from age 5-11 years. Survival analysis is used to determine the Hazard Ratios (HRs) for time to first SEMH identification, controlling for prior attainment and social-emotional adjustment at age 5 as well as socio-economic factors. Black Caribbean and Mixed White & Black Caribbean students are more than twice as likely to be identified with SEMH as White British students (HR=2.3 and 1.9 respectively), and they continue to be disproportionately identified after control for poverty and age 5 prior attainment and social-emotional adjustment (HR=1.4 and 1.5 respectively). School composition variables (e.g. % of pupils in poverty and % of Black Caribbean pupils) raise the overall risks of identification but explain little of the ethnic disproportionality. Notably the numerically larger Black African group are not over-represented (HR=1.12) and indeed are significantly under-represented relative to White British pupils in the adjusted analyses (HR=0.65). The results suggest disproportionate identification for SEMH exists for some ethnic groups, but cannot simply be ascribed to teacher racism.

Please note this event will take place at The Old Library, Lady Margaret Hall


About the speaker


Steve Strand is Professor of Education at the University of Oxford.




In 2019, the University of Oxford’s Department of Education celebrates the 100th year since the passing of a statute creating what was known in 1919 as the University Department for the Training of Teachers. To celebrate our centenary a year-long series of activities will be delivered to address some of the department’s top initiatives for 2019, answer some of the big questions facing education today and to reveal the advancements the department has made to the study of and research in the field of education. Join us as we mark our 100th year and discover more about our anniversary here.

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