White boys FAll behind

4th April 2003 at 01:00
FIGURES showing shocking disparities in achievement between different ethnic groups in a single school have been used by a senior civil servant to urge heads to tackle inequality in education.

Peter Housden, the Department for Education and Skills's director general of schools, produced the statistics from an unnamed school in the north-west of England to illustrate his point to the Secondary Heads Association conference.

The figures show serious underachievement by white boys at the school.

While 84 per cent of British Indian girls at the school got five GCSEs at C grade or better, only 27 per cent of white boys did.

Mr Housden said that the school was split roughly equally between the three racial groups, so the statistics had not been distorted by small numbers of pupils.

"It cannot be right for three-quarters of British white boys to be leaving this school without the basic passport to jobs in our society," he said.

The full set of five A*-C GCSE figures for the school were as follows:

* White boys 27 per cent

* Pakistani boys 40 per cent

* Pakistani girls 41 per cent

* White girls 46 per cent

* Indian boys 72 per cent

* Indian girls 84 per cent.

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