Education And Ethnicity


Evidence on achievement and under achievement among minority ethnic groups

Highest achieving groups-

  • Chinese and Indian Asian pupils consistently have higher levels of attainment and make the highest progress in school
  • They are more likely to ahieve five or more GCSE grades A*-C
  • They are more likely to stay in higher education

Lowest achieving groups-

  • Black Caribbean, Pakistani, Bangledeshi and traveller pupils have lower grades 
  • They have below average reading skills 
  • They start of primary in school below white british students
  • less likely to get five A*-C GCSE grades
  • Black Caribbeans are over represented in special need schools
  • There isn't a closing gap of educational achievement since 1990's in the UK 
  • Black Carribbean's are more likely to be permantly excluded from schools
  • Over represented in lower streams
  • More likely to leave school with no qualifications

Explanations for Ethnic group differences 

Social Class and Material Factors-

  • minority ethnic groups are more likely to live in low income households 
  • in 2012/13  two-fifths of ethnic minorities were living in poverty- twice the rate of white british people-----> 1/3 black caribbeans, 1/2 Pakistani  and bangladeshi
  • more likely to be unemployed and live in the poorest areas with the greatest concentration of social problems
  • ethnic minorities face more problems like poor housing, overcrowding , unemployment and a general material disadvantage 
  • material deprivation,e langauge differences, cultural deprivation, lack of social and cultural capital, teacher attitudes, teacher expectaions/labelling and the self fulfilling prophecy all conribute to the differences 
  • Gilborn and Mirza 2000- point out that while social class remains the main influence on educaional attainment, social class differrences to not over ride the influence of ethnic inequality 


  • 18% of children at primary school and 13% at secondary school did not have english as their first language according to official stats published in 2013
  • language differences may cause difficulties in doing some school work and communicating with the teacher 
  • The use of non-standard english and a heavy accent may be inconsciously penalized in the classroom 
  • The swan report found that, while language differences cause a slight issue they were or little importance and DFES 2005 found that impact of language decreases as they get older 

Family life and Parental support-

  • The Swan report and Pilkington 1997 found that ethnic minorities ethnic groups enjoy greater parental support and specifically Asain have a more tight- knit family with higheraspirations of their children
  • Lupton 2004 suggests that lower working class white




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