Ethnic monitoring 'too scarce'

26th March 1999 at 00:00
FEWER than one in every 200 schools has developed an effective ethnic monitoring programme, a report published today reveals.

It calls on the Government to require governors and headteachers to undergo race equality training and to fund race-related in-service training for teachers.

The report, by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, claims there is no comprehensive data onethnicity in education. It comes as the Government this week responded to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry.

The NASUWT urged the Government to establish an effective system for monitoring schools, colleges and regulatory bodies.

Its report, which will be going to the union's Easter conference, said the extent to which race affects educational progress required more detailed attention.

Previous research is criticised for its tendency to attribute the causes of racial inequality to teachers and for disregarding the contributions of the wider community.

Earlier this month, the Office for Standards in Education claimed that teachers often negatively stereotyped black pupils. But the NASUWT said social class and gender were as critical as race in determining pupil progress.

And it warns: "Programmes of action which focus on ethnicity or race alone ... may be unable to deliver intended outcomes in the short, medium or longer term."

Statistics show that African-Caribbean children are excluded at a rate more than six times greater than their classmates.

Young people from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black groups are less successful in gaining qualifications post-16.

But, according to the NASUWT, Pakistani and Bangladeshi children are more likely to be required to look after older and younger relatives thereby hampering their potential to continue studying after school.

Such responsibilities may also affect participation rates and school attendance.

The union also points out that around half of Bangladeshis - and almost a third of Pakistanis - live in overcrowded accommodation compared with 10 per cent of Indian and black households, and 2 per cent of white households.

Again, the union said this could affect the children, leaving them with nowhere suitable to do homework or revision.

Just last week the National Foundation for Educational Research said that black pupils were as likely to underachieve because of their social class or gender as for reasons of race.

Its findings were based on a study of more than 5,000 London infants.

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