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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 May, 2005, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Black boys 'becoming underclass'
Trevor Phillips
Trevor Phillips said 'new solutions' were needed
Black boys' continuing poor performance in schools could turn them into a "permanent underclass", the head of the Commission for Racial Equality says.

Trevor Phillips said in The Guardian that the problem was not caused by "racist" teachers and called for action, rather than "bleating".

Earlier this year, he suggested black boys could be taught separately.

Last year, almost three quarters of black Caribbean boys failed to get five A* to C grades at GCSEs or equivalent.

'Liberals' hand-wringing'

The overall percentage of pupils achieving five good grades in England was 53.7%.

The Department for Education and Skills has rejected Mr Phillips' call for separate teaching for black male pupils, in case of "negative effects" and "stigmatising".

A spokesman said: "We are closing the gap on performance but there is no room for complacency."

However, Mr Phillips said: "The hand-wringing of liberals feels increasingly irrelevant in the face of the accumulating inequalities that are slowly detaching the African-Caribbean community from the rest of society."

He added: "The critical mass of failure is threatening to turn this community into a permanent, irrevocable underclass."

Indian and Chinese children - who were just as likely to be from poor families and face racist attitudes - did nearly three times as well as black boys at school, Mr Phillips said, adding: "We need new solutions."

Hear from a US expert on educating black schoolboys

Black boys 'segregation' rejected
07 Mar 05 |  Education
Ethnic minorities improve at GCSE
24 Feb 05 |  Education
Profile: Trevor Phillips
08 Oct 04 |  UK


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