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Conference to highlight black pupil disaffection

HIGH exclusion rates among the nation's black pupils will be a key issue at a conference on black pupils' achievement being held in London next weekend.

The conference, organised by the Greater London Authority and Diane Abbott MP, concides with a fresh government drive to reduce the disproportionately high number of black pupils excluded from school.

The issue took up the bulk of a meeting at the Cabinet Office last month between headteachers and junior education minister Baroness Ashton.

The Department for Education and Skills promised more summits would follow, with the Government looking to introduce fresh policy in the near future.

In 19992000, 34 in every 10,000 black pupils in English schools were permanently excluded compared to 12 white and six Asian children. Children from African-Caribbean families were most likely to be excluded with 46 exclusions for every 10,000 compared with 17 for those of African origin.

Speakers at conference will include Lady Ashton, William Atkinson, headteacher of west London's Phoenix high school, and Keith Davidson, the Seventh Day Adventist Church's director of education.

It takes place at London's Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on March 16. Entrance is free. For more details, telephone 020 7219 4330.

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