Monday, March 8, 1999 Published at 11:10 GMT
Schools 'must do more' for black pupils
David Blunkett wants greater efforts to support black pupils
Schools should do more for pupils from ethnic minorities, says the Education Secretary, David Blunkett.
At present, he said that only 29% of black and Pakistani children achieved five or more good GCSEs, compared to 47% of white children.
Mr Blunkett said there were "encouraging signs" that the underachievement of black pupils was being tackled. "Later this month a new study will show that we are beginning to narrow the gap, although there is some considerable way to go yet."
The education secretary said that the government was supporting schools in their efforts to provide an effective education for ethnic minority pupils.
Over the next three years, £430m will be available for extra teachers, mentors and English language lessons, he said. "Although we have more to do, this is the right approach, boosting black and Asian achievement rather than token gestures."
As well calling for a greater awareness of the successes and failures of black pupils, Mr Blunkett urged schools to play a part in creating a more inclusive society.
"We must work to give genuine equality of opportunity to every young person regardless of their social class, so that no child is sold short merely because they live in the inner city."