Poor white boys are still languishing at the bottom of the education league table – despite the billions spent on schools by Labour.
Figures from the Department for Education show white boys from poor homes achieved the worst results of any group last year and now do far worse than black boys from similar backgrounds.
The Tories last night seized on the figures as evidence that Tony Blair’s famous emphasis on ‘education, education, education’ had failed to help the poorest children.
Despite billions in spending and countless initiatives aimed at helping ‘socially excluded’ children, poor pupils still do far worse than the average – with white boys doing worst of all. The figures show just 23.3 per cent of white boys in receipt of free school meals achieved five GCSEs last year. The figure is less than half the 54.8 per cent success rate among pupils as a whole.
It is also well below the level achieved by ethnic minority pupils from poor homes. More than 60 per cent of Chinese boys on free school meals achieved five or more GCSEs last year.
And 33.6 per cent of black boys from poor homes achieved the pass rate, despite widespread perceptions that black boys do worst at school. Concern about the low educational achievements of poor white boys has been growing, with the head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, saying they should be made a priority group.
A landmark report by the Centre for Policy Studies said the ‘ideological fads’ of the Left-wing educational establishment had hit working class boys the hardest. The centre-Right think tank said failure to teach reading and writing properly to infants drove many ‘angry and resentful boys out of school and into trouble’.
As with other social groups, poor white boys also do significantly worse than their female counterparts. Just over 28 per cent of white girls on free school meals achieve five GCSEs.
On average 59 per cent of girls from all homes now pass five GCSEs, compared to 51 per cent of boys.
Tory MP Andrew Griffiths said: ‘It is a shocking indictment of Labour’s record on education that the most deprived children are so far behind their peers at the age of 16.
‘Labour neglected children from deprived backgrounds. The Coalition Government’s pupil premium will help address the problem directly, with additional funds following children from deprived backgrounds.’
Under the pupil premium, schools will receive an extra £430 a year for every pupil from a poor home. Headmasters are being encouraged to use the cash to reduce class sizes and introduce more one-to-one tuition.
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