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They are the best of the bunch

Chinese pupils get better exam results than others in Scottish schools, according to figures published this week.

Asian-Indian children and those taught at Gaelic schools also do well, the Scottish Executive statistics showed.

The statistical analysis of attainment levels shows that, last year, the 194 youngsters who classed their ethnic background as Chinese scored an average 214 compared with an average for all pupils of 172. The scores are based on an average of Standard grade, Access 3, Intermediate 1 and 2, Higher, and Advanced Higher passes, each of which is given a "tariff"

rate.

Those in the whiteUK category scored 173 compared to 191 for the AsianIndian, 174 for the AsianPakistani, 176 for the AsianBangladeshi, 124 for the BlackCaribbean and 169 for the BlackAfrican categories.

The 68 pupils who received Gaelic medium education averaged 201.

Those who defined their nationality as Scottish - some 44,009 out of 61,164 pupils - scored an average of 175, compared with an average of 170 achieved by 1,385 Eng-lish youngsters.

The statistics confirm what was shown by last August's exam results - that attainment levels have remained stable in recent years, with girls continuing to out-perform boys.

Of pupils in S4 in 2003-04, 35 per cent gained five or more awards at Standard grade credit or Intermediate 2. This had increased to 48 per cent by the end of 2005-06.

Pupils with a disability, those in care, and youngsters living in the 15 per cent most deprived areas, all returned results below the Scottish average.

Earlier this week, Hugh Henry, the Education Minister, told an education reform conference in Glasgow that people in the most deprived areas still did less well at school and had poorer health. This remained a challenge for Scotland, he said: "It is a disgrace that we can predict who is likely to go to university according to postcode."

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