University of Leicester eBulletin

New national database aims to help provide clearer picture of ethnic pupils' achievements

September 2002
No 200

Researchers provide Government with information to raise education standards

The first ever national picture of primary school pupils' achievements according to ethnicity has been created by researchers at the University of Leicester, working with academics from Bristol.

The research team have provided the government with a national database, based on evidence collected from local authorities. The government can now monitor LEA strategies for raising achievement and determine patterns and trends in provision and exam results.

The team, led by Professor Audrey Osler, examined action plans for LEAs across England, comparing these with pupils' achievements. The study was the first stage in a government evaluation of the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant.

Primary school pupils make faster progress in English when they have bilingual classroom assistants and teachers.

Those LEAs which fund supplementary schools and mentoring schemes and which work closely with parents are most successful in raising the achievement of African Caribbean children.

GCSE results show that the two highest achieving groups are Chinese and Indian heritage children. Those at greatest risk of underachievement are learners from Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani backgrounds.

Only one in four African Caribbean pupils (27%) achieve 5 or more A* - C GCSE passes, compared with an average of one in two.

There are huge variations between LEAs, with the proportion of Caribbean pupils achieving 5 good GCSE passes ranging from 16% to 59%. LEAs are now setting themselves more challenging targets than in the past. These targets, if achieved, will narrow the gap between the most successful and less successful groups.

Professor Audrey Osler, Director of the Centre for Citizenship Studies in Education at the University of Leicester said: 'Our research suggests that those LEAs which are most successful in raising achievement are those which work closely with minority parents and communities. There is a lot we can all learn from those schools and LEAs which have enabled students from all ethnic groups to succeed. Training for head teachers needs to address the specific needs of minority learners'.

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: 

For further information contact Professor Audrey Osler: 0116 252 3680
A copy of the research report can be found at: www.le.ac.uk/education/centres/citizenship 

Ather Mirza/Helen Richardson
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