Enabling every child to fulfill his or her potential is at the heart of the Government's drive to raise school standards. Many young people from minority ethnic backgrounds achieve at the highest level, but for some groups, the gaps remain unacceptably wide.  Particular combinations of pupil characteristics can indicate that a child is especially vulnerable. For example, currently Black Caribbean boys eligible for free school meals (FSM) are amongst those making the slowest progress.

There is no single intervention that achieves the best possible results for every disadvantaged or minority ethnic child, but evidence does show that schools are independently important for narrowing attainment gaps.

Research suggests that schools which are successful in raising the attainment of minority ethnic pupils share broadly similar approaches to the creation of a genuinely inclusive school community. This is true whether their intake is highly diverse or predominantly white.

These schools are strongly committed to an ethos that stresses:

  • high achievement
  • equal opportunities
  • the valuing of cultural diversity
  • the provision of a secure environment
  • the importance of challenging racism
  • the centrality of Ethnic Minority Achievement (EMA) work
  • partnership with parents and the wider community.

The ways in which schools create such an ethos differ according to individual contexts and specific needs, but the vision remains essentially the same.

  • Pupils and parents are aware of, and appreciate, the schools’ stand on race equality because the schools have made it explicit. This creates a positive climate for learning which underpins and contributes to the schools’ success.
  • Creating an inclusive school which enables all pupils to thrive takes time and requires considerable effort and commitment at all levels. In the most successful schools, no stone is left unturned.
  • Where schools have used it effectively, Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant funding has been a catalyst for the development of high-quality provision for minority ethnic and bilingual pupils, enabling them to achieve well.
  • Successful schools routinely monitor the way they use the additional resources to ensure that it results in improved outcomes for targeted pupils.
  • Good-quality partnership teaching between mainstream and Ethnic Minority Achievement staff is one of the most effective forms of whole-school continuing professional development.
  • High-quality assessment, tracking and target-setting procedures, for individuals and groups, are key. The systematic collection and analysis of data enable schools to identify need and deploy resources effectively.

The information on this page has been designed to support minority ethnic attainment and illustrate some of the ways in which schools have successfully narrowed attainment gaps.