How to raise attainment among minorities

16th May 2008 at 01:00
GENERAL - - Have high expectations for all pupils

- Have high expectations for all pupils.

- Establish preventive rather than punitive behaviour systems.

- Celebrate diversity and promote a sense of belonging for all pupils.

- Establish partnerships with parents, carers and the wider school community.


Research from pilot schemes indicates that when schools analyse their rewards system, they may find that black pupils receive rewards for sport and music, but not for more academic subjects. Some black pupils are also reluctant to be seen as high achievers; they are embarrassed in case it alienates them from their peers.


Studies show that reducing exclusions requires early intervention, the development of appropriate strategies using the school's own data, and the involvement of parents and pupils.

One secondary school analysed its exclusion data and found that black pupils were excluded more often than other groups mostly because of confrontations with staff. They countered this by helping individual pupils to develop their social and emotional skills. Parents were involved in this. Teachers and other staff were also trained in promoting positive behaviour for learning.


A school's ethos is seen in the way pupils interact with each other and staff, the language used on signs, as well as rules, routines and policies.

One school had quantitative data but wanted more information on why black boys underachieved. So, following up on lessons about immigration, a history subject leader surveyed 21 black boys about their experiences in school and other areas of public life. The research was published as a booklet and discussed with staff, who said that it challenged their perceptions - even among black staff - and cut down on confrontations with pupils.


Many schools have successfully engaged parents by holding a parents' event either just before or just after pupils start in Year 7, so that parents and carers can meet important staff and each other.

- Source: "Ensuring the Attainment of Black Pupils: Management Guide".

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