Schools are to be given more help to boost the achievement of pupils from ethnic minorities.
Schools will be given more resources
The government has outlined plans aimed at helping primary schools teach bi-lingual pupils.
It is also launching a scheme to boost the performance of black Caribbean children at secondary school.
They are much less likely to get good GCSEs and more likely to be expelled than other children.
Thirty secondary schools picked for the scheme will choose a senior manager to work on improving achievement among black pupils, with help from an expert consultant.
In 2002, only 30% of all black pupils got five or more good GCSEs (grades A* to C), compared to a national average of 51%.
And black pupils are around three times more likely than white pupils to be excluded from school.
There has been an outcry about the situation, with criticism coming from figures such as the Labour MP Diane Abbott and the chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality chairman, Trevor Phillips.
Some other ethnic minority groups do very well at school. In 2002, 73% of children of Chinese origin got five good GCSEs.
Announcing the strategy, Schools Minister Stephen Twigg said: "Every child matters, whatever their background. But the truth is that some ethnic children have been underachieving for too long.
"We have consulted widely, listened to what people have to say on this issue, and developed a clear, strategic approach backed up by extra resources.
"We are making sure that support is given exactly where it is needed so that our work to raise standards in schools benefits all pupils, whatever their background, location or school."