BETRAYAL OF WHITE PUPILS; by 16, White British Children Lag Behind 12 Ethnic Groups; They're Being Let Down by Schools -- and Their Parents

Daily Mail (London), April 4, 2016 | Go to article overview

BETRAYAL OF WHITE PUPILS; by 16, White British Children Lag Behind 12 Ethnic Groups; They're Being Let Down by Schools -- and Their Parents


Byline: Sarah Harris

WHITE British pupils are being overtaken at school by students from ten other ethnic groups by the time they sit their GCSEs, an alarming new report reveals today.

At the age of five, white British students are among the top three highest achievers, and their shocking slip down the rankings by the time they reach 16 was last night blamed on the education system and their parents.

The trend will renew concern about the under-achievement of white working-class pupils, in particular, which MPs have previously labelled as 'staggeringly low'.

Researchers from the CentreForum thinktank said pupils without English as a first language often made faster progress because teachers helped them catch up and their families were more supportive.

Education experts said white British children were being 'let down' by schools and also by parents who did not fully support their education. In contrast, immigrant children were 'keen to make use of the educational opportunities' on offer and received huge support from their aspirational families.

Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, said the results were 'concerning'.

He added: 'On the face of it, the education system is letting down white British children and we must examine the reasons with great urgency. The children of immigrants are improving much faster. In part this is because the parents and children are very keen to make use of the educational opportunities which are readily available to them. But also, the extra attention they receive may inadvertently be diverting attention from the needs of the poor white British pupils.' Referring to white British pupils, he added: 'Too often, parents in low-income homes have been turned off by having to attend school and those attitudes are passed on to their children.' The Government has toughened up GCSEs and will launch a more rigorous grading scale of one to nine next year, which is pegged to international standards for the first time. A five will be considered a 'good pass' - between a current C and B grade - and a nine will be gained by only the highest achievers.

Ministers are also introducing a new measure of school performance across eight 'academic' GCSE subjects including English, maths, science, languages and the humanities. Researchers from the think-tank, which is chaired by former schools minister and Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury David Laws, analysed last year's GCSE results and calculated the proportion of teenagers who would have gained a 'good pass' in all eight subjects. They also compared the data to test results in primary schools. …

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