Sunday, 9 June 2013

Professor: academies are failing black students

An interesting article from Voice on Line LINK which gives pause for thought as the academisation of Brent secondary school nears completion:

A LEADING academic has said that black pupils achieve worse GCSE results in academies than in local authority schools with a similar intake.

Professor David Gillborn, director of the centre for research in race and education based at the University of Birmingham, pointed to the Government’s data which revealed that while other ethnicities performed better, attainment among black pupils leaves much to be desired.

According to the Department for Education’s Equalities Impact Assessment: Academies Bill published in 2010, 37.1 per cent of black children enrolled at academies achieved five top GCSEs including maths and English.

But in local authority-run schools with similar characteristics, that figure was 41 per cent among children of African and Caribbean heritage.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “These are not the most up-to-date figures. In fact, results in sponsored academies are improving at a faster rate than in other state-funded schools. Analysis published by the department last year shows that, in 2011, the proportion of black pupils achieving five good GCSEs including English and mathematics was 2.5 percentage points higher in sponsored academies than in similar council-run schools.”

For other ethnic groups including white and Asian, this pattern was in reverse with both groups performing slightly better.

Academies tend to have a higher proportion of black pupils than other ethnic groups. Gillborn, a guest speaker at the annual London Schools and the Black Child conference, said: “The Government claims that academies are going raise standards for everyone but, actually, its own data suggests academies are bad news for black students.

“When compared with similar local authority schools they do worse...this has not stopped the policy being rolled out across the country. [The Government] has taken no steps whatsoever to identify where this problem might be arising from, let alone taking steps to ensure that it doesn’t happen in every single new academy.”

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