We welcome the Government's commitment to raising standards for all our schoolchildren.
The general issues of school exclusions and truancy have rightly been made a priority by the Government through its social exclusion unit. In order to focus our efforts, we strongly urge the unit and the Government to consult education partners to determine the reasons for ethnic-minority over-representation among young people excluded from schools.
Having consulted, we would expect the Government to examine ways of putting in place the support that schools need to deal with it through local authority behaviour plans and other means.
This over-representation cannot continue. A target date for its elimination agreed with education partners would help provide the stimulus needed to mobilise the system to end it. The same logic underlies the welcome literacy targets, and measures for dealing more generally with the under-achievement of boys. With leadership and determination, targets such as these can be met.
SIR HERMAN OUSELEY
Chairman, Commission for Racial Equality GRAHAM LANE
Chair, education committee, Local Government Association LEE JASPER
Director, 1990 Trust SUKHVINDER STUBBS
Chief executive, Runnymede Trust PETER SMITH
General secretary, Association of Teachers and Lecturers DOUG McAVOY
General secretary, National Union of Teachers