Schools 'are failing pupils from Caribbean'

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The Independent Online

Thousands of black pupils of Caribbean origin are being failed by schools, some 50 years after their families arrived in the UK full of hope for improving their children's education, inspectors said yesterday.

Thousands of black pupils of Caribbean origin are being failed by schools, some 50 years after their families arrived in the UK full of hope for improving their children's education, inspectors said yesterday.

A study by Ofsted, the education standards watchdog, showed that they were four times more likely to be excluded from secondary schools and three times more likely to be excluded from primary schools. It found that they performed well in tests for seven-year-olds but by the time they were 11 their overall performance was deteriorating.

The study looked at nine schools – six secondary and three primary – in which black Caribbean pupils were achieving good test and exam results. Mike Tomlinson, chief inspector of schools, said he wanted a debate on how to improve the performance of Caribbean and other ethnic-minority pupils.

The report said: "It would be reasonable to assume that the majority of black Caribbean children in England's schools would be sharing the higher educational standards attained by the most successful pupils in our schools. This is not the case."

It said their relative performance in schools "begins high, starts to decline in key stage two (pupils aged seven to 11), tails off badly in key stage three (ages 11 to 14) and is below that of most other ethnic groups at key stage four (ages 14 to 16)." The report showed that 40 per cent of all black Caribbean pupils were taught in just 129 secondary schools. A "significant number" of the 129 schools were in "extremely deprived areas".

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