Indian kids race ahead in British schools

March 1st, 2009 - 6:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 1 (IANS) Chinese, Bangladeshi and Indian children in Britain are racing ahead of working-class white children at school because their families place more value on education, a key British government adviser was quoted saying Sunday.
White working-class boys, in particular, were struggling, said Mike Tomlinson, former head of Ofsted, the authority that regulates schools and educational standards in Britain.

In comments described as “controversial”, Tomlinson, who is now chief adviser on London schools, told The Sunday Telegraph that white working-class parents failed to place the same value on education as their ethnic minority counterparts.

“We are seeing every ethnic group progress rapidly - Chinese, Bengali, Indian,” Tomlinson said.

“The results that are being achieved are higher and this has improved the numbers applying to university and entering professions such as medicine, veterinary science, law and accountancy.

“A very high value is placed on education among many ethnic groups, compared with white working-class families. There seems to be different value systems at work.”

Tomlinson said that if parents could not support their children, schools had to step in by “raising aspirations”.

The paper said only 15 percent of 16-year-old white boys who qualify for free school meals - an indicator of poverty - leave schools with good grades in five subjects, including math and English, at the all-important GCSE exams held at the end of year 11.

The figure for black boys from similar backgrounds is 22 percent and for Asians 29 per cent - low but improving.

The paper said some critics have argued that funding ringfenced for ethnic minority pupils should be redirected.

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