Minority ethnic pupils are narrowing attainment gap with white peers, report shows

Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and black African and Caribbean pupils are closing the educational attainment gap with their white peers, according to a major report into equality in Britain.

The study, published today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), also shows that white boys from poorer backgrounds are performing at a lower level than poor children from every other ethnic group.

It states that while there is still a gap in attainment at GCSE between white students and other ethnic groups, it has shrunk over a four-year period.

The report, called Is Britain Fairer, uses data from 2012-13 when 60.2 per cent of white students hit the government’s GCSE benchmark, compared with 58.1 per cent of both Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils and the same proportion of black pupils.

In 2008-09, 50.7 per cent of white students reached the GCSE benchmark compared with just 44.4 per cent of Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils, and 44.5 per cent of black students.

The study also reveals a large attainment gap within the white boys group. Just 28.3 per cent of white boys in receipt of free school meals gained five good GCSE including English and maths in 2012-13, as opposed to 58.1 per cent of white boys not on free school meals.

EHRC commissioner Laura Carstensen said that while progress had been made in some areas, there was still a long way to go for certain groups.

“This wide-ranging, evidence-based review demonstrates how, while the British people demand a fairer society where everybody has an equal opportunity to make the best of their lives, whatever their background, our achievements still lag behind our aspirations in some areas,” she said.

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