White working-class boys are the lowest performing ethnic group in schools by age 11
White boys from working-class households perform worse on English tests than all other groups at age 11, figures revealed yesterday.
Students from ethnic minorities from similar backgrounds are not only ahead but also improving faster – even though thousands of people do not speak English at home.
Poor white boys are also among the worst performers in math and science, according to statistics released by the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
The numbers were contained in an official breakdown of last year’s primary school SAT scores by ethnicity and deprivation levels.
Sats results showed that children with English as a second language outperformed their English-speaking peers
They will renew their concerns about the prospects of white boys from poor homes, fearing that many will be excluded from college and high-level jobs.
Last year, Christine Gilbert, Chief Inspector of Schools and Director of Ofsted, warned their future was “marred” by low education as other groups moved forward.
The latest figures confirm fears that the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds achieving the best marks in their SATs is declining.
Statistics released yesterday showed that 56% of white boys receiving free school meals achieved expected “level four” in English SAT last year.
For black African boys on free school meals, the pass rate was 60 percent and for black Caribbean boys it was 62 percent.
The pass rate was 63% for Pakistani boys, 68% for Bangladeshis, 74% for Indians and 76% for Chinese.
For young people from mixed backgrounds, the figure was 59 percent. Similar disparities were also apparent among girls, although the trend was not as marked.
Ministers put the numbers on the bright side yesterday, insisting that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are catching up, as a group, with their wealthier peers and improving faster than last year.
Schools Minister Sarah McCarthy-Fry said: “It is encouraging to see that children receiving free school meals are catching up with their peers who do not receive free school meals twice as fast as in 2007.
“We are working hard to accelerate this rate of progress through programs such as Every Child Counts – which has seen students progress a year in just three months when given intensive support – and Every Child a Reader Who ensures early intervention and provides targeted support to children at risk of falling behind.
The figures also showed that the proportion of students from all walks of life reaching above ‘level five’ by age 11 on the SAT is declining, from 33% to 29% in English and from 32% to 31%. in mathematics.
Conservative schools spokesman Nick Gibb said: “For all the promises the government has made, the standards are still too low and, too often, it is students from the poorest backgrounds who suffer the most.
“The proportion of high performing students from disadvantaged backgrounds is stagnating or declining in the three core subjects.”
% FREE MEAL STUDENTS WINS LEVEL FOUR IN ENGLISH SATS 2008
White 56 70
Mixed 65 78
Asian 66 77
Indian 74 82
Pakistani 63 74
Bangladeshi 68 80
Black 60 73
Caribbean Black 62 78
African Black 60 70
Chinese 76 83