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Ethnic Pupils Outshine White Children In The Classroom

15/09/2010 10:11 | Updated 22 May 2015

Despite falling behind in tests at five, children from ethnic minorities are now overtaking or matching white British pupils at 16, says a report in the Economic Journal.

Researchers from University College London, who conducted the study, found that whilst many children from ethnic groups struggle when they first start school, as soon as their language skills improve, they catch up with or overtake their white British peers.

The findings suggested this could be down to ethnic minority parents choosing better secondary schools for their children as they become more skilled in negotiating school admission systems.

The study also found that school league tables could play a part in encouraging teachers to pay greater attention to pupils from black and Asian backgrounds, and that peer pressure could influence how well different groups apply themselves to their studies.

One of the author's of the report, Professor Christian Dustmann, director of the Centre for Research and Analysis on Migration, said further research was needed into the effects of pupil peer groups on attainment:

'We don't really understand the dynamics of peer groups within a school, and how within a school individuals sort into different groups,' he said.

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