Minister backs adviser over black pupils

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The Independent Online

Ed Balls, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, echoed the concerns expressed by one of his key advisers yesterday at the "shocking" number of black pupils expelled from Britain's schools.

Sir Keith Ajegbo, author of a government report on how to teach citizenship and British values, claimed figures showing that Afro-Caribbean boys were three times more likely to be excluded than white youths could be a result of institutional racism. Mr Balls refused to be drawn on whether he thought this was to blame, but said: "Every head and governing body should be challenging these figures.

There are very few schools that are not challenged by teaching and preparing pupils for a more diverse society. This is not a minority issue." Under new legislation, all schools will soon have to promote community cohesion and could fail their Ofsted inspections if they fail to do so.

Mr Balls made his comments after visiting an east London college to promote new government diplomas that will run alongside A-levels and GCSEs from next September. Mr Balls said an increasing number of universities saw the diplomas, which would be the equivalent of three A-levels, as the best way to prepare pupils for degree courses.

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