17. Memorandum submitted by
the Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
1. What does the DfES Black Pupils' Achievement
Programme involve and how successful has it been to date in reducing
exclusions and raising the attainment of black pupils?
A. The Black Pupils' Achievement Programme
has been in operation in its current form since October 2005.
It is therefore too early to assess the impact of the Programme
on raising attainment and reducing exclusions. The Programme was
not, however, designed to reduce exclusions. The Black Pupils'
Achievement Programme was developed following the success of the
African-Caribbean Achievement Project which was piloted in 30
secondary schools across 20 local authorities in England in 2003.
The Project's aim was to work with school leaders to develop a
whole-school approach to raising the achievement of African Caribbean
pupils. The 30 schools involved in the Project were each given
extra resources for leadership on the project, consultant support,
training from the National College for School Leadership and a
grant of up to £10,000 a year. When the Project was rolled
out in 2005 it became known as The Black Pupils' Achievement Programme
and its focus remains raising the achievement of all Black groups
(Black Caribbean, Black African and Mixed Heritage pupils) by
spreading the good practice developed and tested through the pilots.
There are now approximately100 schools participating in the Programme
across 25 local authorities. The Project was evaluated by an independent
consortium of researchers at the University of Bristol, the Institute
of Education and Birmingham local authority. The researchers concluded
that the Project has been effective in raising awareness of African
Caribbean issues in schools, has helped schools to develop fairer
and more systematic whole school processes and has provided quality
academic and pastoral support to the target group of pupils
2. How much ethnic data is available at each
stage of the education system? Where are the key data gaps?
A. There is limited data available on pupils
aged 0-5. The earliest universal measure of attainment is the
Foundation Stage Profile, which usually takes place in the first
year of primary school. DfES publishes statistics, based on a
sample of this data and disaggregated by ethnicity every year.
3. Does the DfES have any plans to routinely
publish ethnic data at all stages of the education system?
A. Data relating to school-age pupils, including
population, achievement, exclusions, Special Educational Needs
and English as an additional language is routinely disaggregated
by ethnicity and published on the DfES website. At ages 7 (end
of Key Stage 1), 11 (end of Key Stage 2), and 14 (end of Key Stage
3) all pupils in maintained schools in England sit National Curriculum
tests in the core subjects. Almost all pupils sit GCSE or equivalent
examinations at age 16. Comprehensive data on attainment at each
Key Stage and at GCSE is disaggregated by ethnicity and published
After age 16, young people are free to pursue
a number of routes for further study. Many study for GCE/VCE A-Levels,
the results of which are disaggregated by ethnicity and published
with the GCSE results. The diverse nature of the Further Education
and Higher Education sectors makes it very difficult to compare
attainment of students between courses and institutions. However,
statistics on higher Education participation are disaggregated
by ethnicity and published annually on the Higher Education Statistics
DfES also publishes a number of longitudinal
studies such as the Youth Cohort Survey, which contain data by
4. How is data on the experiences of different
ethnic groups used to monitor equality of treatment and inform
A. DfES believes that a sophisticated understanding
of the data, both quantitative and qualitative, is crucial in
the development of effective policy to tackle inequalities. We
routinely use data to inform policy. For example, the Aiming High
initiative targets support to raise the attainment of a number
of groups, based on our analysis of the attainment data.
The permanent and fixed period exclusions rates
for Gypsy/Roma, Traveller of Irish Heritage, Black Caribbean,
Mixed White/Black Caribbean and Black Other are significantly
above average. The permanent and fixed period exclusions rates
for Indian and Chinese pupils were significantly below average.
Based on the evaluation of the Excellence in
Cities initiative, White Other and Black Other pupils had the
highest rates of unauthorised absence.
Full data on attendance and exclusions are set
out on pages 85-91 of the attached paper.
The extent and causes of educational disaffection,
in general and for specific groups, has been widely discussed
by academic commentators, and there are many different schools
of thought. The DfES's Longitudinal Study of Young People in Education
allows an analysis of young people's attitudes towards school
by ethnicity. Initial results of this study are set out on pages
77-83 of the attached paper.
5. What evidence is there for ethnic differences
with regard to:
1. Educational attainment.
2. Educational welfare needs and access
to support services.
3. Short term and permanent exclusions.
4. Unauthorised absences.
5. Other indicators of educational disaffection.
6. Participation in further/higher education?
A. The reasons for differences in levels
of achievements, and for other inequalities, are extremely complex.
Data tells us that the biggest determinant of educational achievement
is socio-economic background. However, socio-economic deprivation
appears to impact differently on different ethnic groups. For
example, a greater proportion Bangladeshi pupils are entitled
to free schools meals (a key measure of deprivation) than Black
Caribbean pupils, but a lower proportion of Black Caribbean pupils
achieve five good passes at GCSE than Bangladeshi pupils.
Other factors that are associated with differences
in achievement, such as gender and whether pupils speak English
as a first language, also seem to impact differently on different
groups. For example, the percentage point gap between girls and
boys achieving five good passes at GCSE is generally higher in
underachieving ethnic groups (girls do better in all groups).
It would seem, therefore, that there are factors
associated with ethnicity that impact on the performance of pupils
in different ethnic groups. The academic literature identifies
a range of institutional factors, such as lower or higher teacher
expectations for some groups, as contributing to differences in
achievement. Some commentators also cite cultural differences
and attitudes to education as having an impact.
6. What are the reasons for ethnic differences
with regards to the above? To what extent does the DfES see the
reasons for differences as specific to individual ethnic groups
or related to factors which may cut across all groups?
A. The DfES believes that, whatever the
causes of underachievement, all pupils should have the opportunity
to achieve their full potential. We promote effective use of data
at a national, local and individual school level to develop a
sophisticated and nuanced understanding of the issues, against
a background of high expectations for all. Evidence of best practice
in schools proves that this approach works.
7. How much variation is there by gender in
the above data?
A. There is a gap between all boys and girls
at GCSE 5+A*-C of around 10 percentage points. The size of this
gap varies by ethnic group. The largest difference between the
attainment of girls and the attainment of boys is for the Black
Other and Black Caribbean groups. In these groups there is a 17
and 16 point difference between the percentage of girls achieving
5+A*-C and the percentage of boys achieving 5+A*-C. Larger than
average gaps are also observed for the Mixed White and Black groups
and to a lesser extent the Bangladeshi pupils
8. What research has been carried out on the
impact of educational disaffection, underachievement and school
exclusion on involvement of young black people in the criminal
justice process? What are the results of this research and how
have they fed into policy development?
A. Numerous studies have identified a link
between underachievement at school and exclusion from school and
involvement in the criminal justice system. For this and other
we have targeted support to raise
the attainment of Black pupils through the Black Pupils Achievement
closing the "exclusions gap"
between Black pupils and the average is a priority for the DfES;
we are undertaking a priority review of the problem and will develop
polices to tackle this inequality.
9. What research and policy initiatives have
been undertaken within education locally or nationally relating
to young black people?
A. In October 2003,following a national
consultation exercise, "Aiming High: Raising the Achievement
of Minority Ethnic Pupils" the Department for Education and
Skills launched the first national strategy aimed at raising the
attainment of under performing Black and minority ethnic young
The strategy has introduced a range of targeted
support to address the needs of underperforming Black and minority
ethnic pupils. These initiatives include:
The development of accredited specialist
training for teaching staff working with bilingual learners and
pupils whose first language is other than English.
The Black Pupils' Achievement Programme
working with 100 schools (approximately) in 25 local authorities
to support the teaching and learning of African Caribbean, Black
African and Mixed heritage pupils.
Excellence in Cities (EiC) was launched
in 1999 with the aim of improving the attainment of pupils in
disadvantaged urban areas through targeted support to meet the
needs of all pupils. Given that 60% of pupils from minority ethnic
backgrounds attended schools in EiC areas the DfES commissioned
an analysis of the impact of EiC on minority ethnic pupils.
The DfES topic paper "Ethnicity
and Education: The Evidence on Minority Ethnic pupils aged 5-16"
presents the latest statistics and research on minority ethnic
pupils in the education system and covers details on the minority
ethnic school population, attainment and progress on minority
ethnic pupils (compared to previous years), exclusions and attendance
data and ethnic background of teachers. The topic paper also includes
research evidence from various strategies aimed at raising the
attainment and inclusion of minority ethnic pupils. The current
(2006 edition) includes previously unpublished findings from an
early analysis of provisional data from wave one of the Department's
Longitudinal Study of Young People in Education
10. How is the DfES cooperating with other
key partners eg LEAs, individual schools and Ofsted as well as
the police and YOTs on issues affecting young black people in
A. The Department works very closely with
its external partners on a range of issues affecting young Black
people in schools. For example we are working with Ofsted and
local authorities to support schools in taking forward specific
duties under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act. Schools have
a general duty to give due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful
racial discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.
149 Not printed. Available from: publications.teachernet.gov.uk/eOrderingdownload/DFES-0208-2006.pdf Back