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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 14:41 GMT
Black girls overtake white boys
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Girls scored better exam results than boys in all ethnic groups
An ethnic breakdown of this year's GCSE results in England shows that "black African" girls are scoring higher grades than "white British" boys.

The analysis of GCSE and GNVQ results found wide gaps in achievement between male and female students and between different ethnic groups.

Chinese pupils achieved the best results of any ethnic group.

It also revealed that only a quarter of black Caribbean male pupils achieved the benchmark of five good GCSEs.

Girls ahead

The analysis of exam results shows that all ethnic groups are improving their average results - but it also shows wide differences between boys, girls, rich, poor, blacks, whites and Asians.

"White British" pupils, representing about 84% of candidates, scored just above the national average for getting five good grades.

But the greater success of female students, in all ethnic groups, saw black African girls achieving better results than white British males.

According to the education department's figures, pupils defined as black African are an increasing proportion of pupils. In infant classes, more than half of the black school population is now black African.

The lowest-achieving group was not an ethnic group at all - but children eligible for free school meals, among whom one in seven left school without a single pass.

High performers

Chinese pupils scored much higher results than other ethnic groups - with 74.8% of pupils achieving five or more good grades, compared to a national average of 50.7%.

Indian pupils also achieved above-average results - with 65% getting above the benchmark - and Irish pupils also scored well, with 60% achieving five good grades.

Pupils defined as being of "mixed white and Asian heritage" also achieved above-average results.

But the Schools Minister Stephen Twigg said that the below-average results for Pakistani, Bangladeshi, black African and black Caribbean pupils showed "the scale of the challenge" facing schools.

Fewer than a third of black Caribbean pupils achieved five good grades - but behind this figure there is a sharp gender divide, with the average lowered by particular under-achievement among black male pupils.

Only 25% of black Caribbean teenage boys achieve five good grades - compared with 40% of girls.

Among black African pupils, 34% of boys achieve five good grades and 47% of girls.

Girls out-perform boys in GCSE and GNVQ results among white, black and Asian pupils - with the highest-scoring single group being Chinese girls, with almost eight out of ten achieving five good grades.

Poverty

As well as differences between genders, the report highlights how the impact of poverty cuts across all ethnic groups.

Among pupils who are eligible for free school meals only 24% score five good grades, compared with an average of 55% among pupils who are not eligible.

"These figures show that many pupils, particularly from African-Caribbean backgrounds are not achieving their potential through school," said Mr Twigg.

"It is vital that we continue to get important facts and figures like those released today. That is the only way for us to see exactly where our reforms are working, and where they are not working, to make sure that no pupil slips through the net," said the minister.




SEE ALSO:
Call to end educational 'racism'
06 Feb 04  |  Education
Black students' results fall back
20 Feb 03  |  Education


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