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15% GRANT INCREASE TO BOOST STANDARDS FOR ETHNIC MINORITY PUPILS - AND TRAVELLER CHILDREN GET NEW TARGETS

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Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has announced investment of over£430m to raise standards of ach...
Education and employment secretary David Blunkett has announced investment of over£430m to raise standards of achievement for ethnic minority pupils over the next three years.

Addressing black and Asian business people at a `New Deal' conference in London Mr Blunkett said:

'Children from ethnic minorities are an important and vibrant part of

today's Britain and it is vital that we ensure they have the same

opportunities to succeed as everyone else. Many Asian children

achieve very good results - better than average. But too many

children from ethnic minority backgrounds are under-performing. If

you are black or of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origins, your chance of

gaining five good GCSE's is half that of white pupils.

'The new grant provides for a substantial percentage increase of 15

per cent over the next three years. It will largely go direct to

schools, so that head teachers can use it where it is most needed -

to employ more teachers and teaching assistants and to work with

their local communities.'

On a visit to Argyle Primary School, Camden in London, schools

minister Charles Clarke gave more details of the new programme. It

will:

be targeted specifically at the raising of achievement of ethnic

minority pupils - including pupils for whom English is not their

first language - by ensuring that each allocation is based on need

and supported by detailed action plans approved by the department of

particular benefit to ethnic minority children, especially those for

whom English is not their first language.'

Mr Clarke said almost£3m will continue to be made available

from next April to support the work to raise the achievement of

ethnic minority students in further education.

£1.5M WILL IMPROVE STANDARDS FOR TRAVELLER CHILDREN - CLARKE

Schools minister Charles Clarke has called for a step-change in the

educational achievements of traveller children as he announced that

£1.5m extra would be spent next year to help meet new targets

aimed at increasing educational standards.

Addressing the biennial conference of the National Association of

Teachers of Travellers in Leicester Mr Clarke said:

'Traveller children are particularly at risk of losing out on a good

education. It is therefore vital that we ensure they have all the

opportunities necessary to succeed at school. The£13.5m

available next year for traveller education is a 20 per cent increase

on current figure of£11.2m. It will:

- ensure traveller children continue to gain a good education as

their families move to different areas, by enabling local education

authorities with no provision to develop traveller education services

where they need to do so;

- create a 'Development Fund' to improve participation and attendance

of travellers at secondary schools and to develop early years

provision for travellers. We have been working hard to increase the

awareness of parents of the benefits of a decent education for their

children.

'Over the next three years I hope to see a 40 per cent increase in

the number of traveller children attending regularly at Key Stages 3

and 4. We also want to see a big improvement in literacy standards

and greater access to work- related learning and further education

for traveller children.

'This is a challenging agenda but I am sure that by working in

partnership with local education authorities, traveller education

services, teachers and traveller families, we can all rise to the

challenge and enable this group of children to benefit in full from

the educational opportunities to which they are entitled.'

NOTES

1. Traveller children enrolled in school are funded in the same way

as all other children. In addition, specific grant is paid by the

DfEE under Section 488 of the Education Act 1996 to meet the

additional educational needs of the children of travellers and

Displaced Persons In the current financial year the grant programme

is supporting some£11.2m of expenditure. The grant rate is

65%. There are traveller education services supported by the

programme in some 120 LEAs in England. The majority of the funding is

for additional, peripatetic teaching staff working in LEAs to support

some 3,400 schools with travelling children. There is a separate

programme in Wales.

2. Travelling communities covers those identifiable groups who have

been traditionally associated with a nomadic lifestyle, mainly those

from Romany Gypsy Traveller families (which is by far the biggest

group). There are estimated to be 50,000 traveller children of school

age (5-16).

3. All provision supported by the grant programme aims to improve

access to school and raise the achievement levels of children in

these groups who are particularly at risk of educational failure and

social exclusion. Historically, gypsy/traveller children have had

very poor access to schools and have achieved less well than any

other group. The programme is making significant progress

particularly at primary level, but more remains to be done, notably

at secondary level.

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