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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 05:14 GMT 06:14 UK
Summit on black pupils' results 'crisis'
Black pupil
Black Caribbean pupils did worse than other black students

A conference is taking place in London to examine the reasons why black pupils, on average, do not perform as well as children from other ethnic groups.

Black children of Caribbean origin achieved the worst results in GCSE exams in England last summer.

Speakers at Saturday's conference include the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, and the Education Minister, Stephen Twigg.

Mr Phillips said children from Afro-Caribbean families were failing to reach their potential.

We're facing a serious and chronic crisis
Trevor Phillips
Commission for Racial Equality

He said: "They are the only group where the actual level of performance relative to the average declines during their school career.

"Most children get better relative to the average, but Afro-Caribbean children actually get worse.

"That's why we're facing a serious and chronic crisis."

A breakdown of last summer's GCSE results in England was published last month - the first time statistics showed pass-rates across ethnic groups.

They demonstrated that only 30% of black students of Caribbean origin achieved five good GCSE passes.

The best performing ethnic group was the Chinese, with 73%. White pupils were at 51%.

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