Headlines: November 17th, 1998

Extra money is to be targeted at children from ethnic minorities to tackle under-achievement, especially among those for whom English is not their first language.Education and Employment Secretary David Blunkett has announced investment of over 430 million pounds over the next three years. The money amounts to a fifteen per cent increase on spending in this area.

He said: “Children from ethnic minorities are an important and vibrant part of today’s Britain and it is vital that we ensure they have the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. Many Asian children achieve very good results – better than average. But too many children from ethnic minority backgrounds are under-performing. If you are black or of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origins, your chance of gaining five good GCSE’s is half that of white pupils.”

The money will be only approved by the Department of Education if a bid can demonstrate real need and is supported by detailed action plans. Projects must support the National Literacy Strategy.

It will also be used to give schools more responsibility for recruiting and managing staff teaching ethnic minority pupils.

Each local education authority and school will be required to monitor the achievement of ethnic minority pupils.