Headlines: October 10th, 2005

A ground-breaking scheme designed to improve educational achievement among black pupils is to be rolled out to 84 schools in 20 local authority areas.The Black Pupils’ Achievement Programme aims to boost success through a tailored leadership and management strategy around effective teaching and learning.The scheme also tackles poor behaviour and bullying, uses mentoring and increases the involvement of parents. Each school taking part has to appoint a member of its senior leadership team to draw up an action plan to drive forward the changes. The expanded programme follows the success of the African-Caribbean Achievement Project that was piloted in 30 schools across England from November 2003.

Schools Minister Andrew Adonis said the underachievement of black pupils, and boys in particular, was a serious issue. The Achievement Project was already bringing about improvements. Last year black pupils had the greatest rate of improvement in GCSEs. “These results show that black pupils are now closing the attainment gap and our strategies are delivering year-on-year improvements,” said Mr. Adonis. But, he added, the gap was still too wide.

The experience of the pilot schemes, he said, had shown that the project was highly effective in providing examples of good practice that could be used in other schools. “I’m pleased that across the 30 pilot schools, a host of ideas to get parents and the local community involved have been developed,” the Minister said. The final evaluation of the pilot projects, which cost 1.7 million pounds over two years, will not be completed until early next year. The roll out to the 84 schools will cost a further 1.3 million pounds.