A new report by the Sutton Trust, highlights how the academic attainment of disadvantaged pupils at 16 varies dramatically between different ethnic groups.
The report titled 'Class differences: Ethnicity and disadvantage', looks at the outcomes for pupils eligible for free school meals (FSM) at GCSE, with researchers finding that:
white British FSM boys achieve the lowest grades of any ethnic group, while white British FSM girls are the lowest performing of any main female ethnic group
the proportion of Bangladeshi, black African and Chinese FSM pupils achieving five GCSEs at A*-C including English and maths has improved substantially to more than the national average over the last ten years
certain ethnic minority FSM pupils perform better on attainment than the national average at GCSE (including Chinese, Bangladeshi and Indian) while others perform below the national average (such as black Caribbean and Irish)
travellers of Irish heritage and Gypsy Roma communities perform the lowest on all main attainment measures
The study also looked at rates of entry to university. It found that while white British pupils were the least likely to attend university, those who did were disproportionately likely to attend an ‘elite’ Russell Group institution compared to other ethnic groups.
The research underlines the need for governors and trustees to understand the characteristics of the disadvantaged pupils in their school and consider how the school is addressing the specific challenges that they face.