Aiming high: raising the achievement of minority ethnic pupils
3 March, 2003

Schools Minister Stephen Twigg will today (4 March 2003) launch the Government’s most in-depth consultation document yet on raising the academic achievement of ethnic minority pupils.

In a keynote speech to a New Local Government Network conference in London, the Minister will also announce the availability of new national data that for the first time provides a comprehensive analysis of performance at GCSE level of young people from different backgrounds.

The Consultation Document, ‘Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Minority Ethnic Pupils’, outlines the Government’s commitment to continuing to raise standards for all young people whatever their ethnic or cultural background, and ensuring that all education policies truly address the needs of every pupil in every school.

The Document represents an important first step towards establishing a joined-up national framework for change, and following on from the consultation process the Department for Education and Skills will set out its full implementation plans in the Autumn.

Stephen Twigg said:

“The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to removing barriers to achievement and participation, and to ensuring that every young person is equipped to achieve their full potential. There is no room for complacency when we know that for many of the one in eight pupils who come from a minority ethnic background, achievement levels remain unacceptably low.”

“It is our duty to raise standards right across the board, but we can’t do this alone; it is vital that we maintain and develop effective partnerships in order to drive forward reform, not only with national organisations such as the Commission for Racial Equality, but also with local education authorities, community groups, schools, parents and young people themselves.”

The Strategy seeks to:

• Meet the needs of bilingual learners and raise the achievement of minority ethnic pupils
• Publish national data annually on performance by ethnicity
• Require Ofsted to report on how well schools and LEAs respond to the requirements of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act
• Improve the training of school leaders, teachers and school staff
• Work to ensure that minority ethnic pupils are not disproportionately excluded from school
• Put in place a national framework to support bilingual pupils; raising achievement and reducing exclusions of African Caribbean pupils, and meeting the needs of highly mobile pupils.

Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality added:

“The underachievement of this group of children is a problem not just for themselves, it’s a problem for the entire school. We must figure out how to lift their achievement in particular if we are going to be in the position to help everyone as much as we wish.
“I applaud the opportunity to work with the Department for Education and Skills and anyone determined to tackle this pressing problem.”

Editor’s Notes
This press notice relates to England
1. The New Local Government Network conference, ‘Education & Social Exclusion: Closing the Achievement Gap, will be held at the Business Design Centre, London N1. Stephen Twigg’s keynote address will be at 12pm.
2. The new pupil level annual schools’ census means that it will be possible for the first time ever to monitor the achievement of minority ethnic pupils locally and nationally in a consistent way.
The Government is committed to publishing this data and this will give schools and local and central government a much clearer picture of the relative performance of particular groups of pupils. It will also indicate which schools experience the highest levels of pupil mobility at any one time
3. The Consultation document has been sent to local education authorities and other key stakeholders. Consultation ends on 28 May
4. The New Local Government Network is an independent think-tank, seeking to transform public services, revitalise local political leadership and empower local communities. www.nlgn.org.uk

Contact Details
Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, info@dfes.gsi.gov.uk