The aiming high national strategy will see a concerted effort to lift the achievement of underachieving minority ethnic pupils, putting the issue at the heart of the government's improvement agenda.
The strategy includes:
- focused work in 30 secondary schools to raise the achievement of black pupils. The scheme means each school will receive a package of support, including resources to free up a senior manager to work on raising black achievement with advice and support from an expert consultant. There will also be support from the National College of School Leadership, and lessons learnt from the scheme will be spread throughout the country;
- bringing greater transparency and accountability to this issue, including a more robust inspection regime and publication of achievement data by ethnic group and LEA;
- training for primary teachers through the national primary strategy to help them better support bilingual pupils. Two regional directors have been appointed to lead work across 21 LEAs nation wide; and
- setting up a national, consistent method of assessment to monitor bilingual pupils' progress from foundation stage to secondary school.
Mr Twigg said: 'Every child matters, whatever their background. But the truth is that some ethnic children have been underachieving for too long.
'We have consulted widely, listened to what people have to say on this issue, and developed a clear, strategic approach backed up by extra resources.
'We are making sure that support is given exactly where it is needed so that our work to raise standards in schools benefits all pupils, whatever their background, location or school.'
The aiming high strategy will be backed up by extra investment, which will be set out shortly after the government's general funding plans, which will be announced in due course.
Stephen Twigg visited Leytonstone school in London, one of the schools taking part in the African Caribbean pilot scheme.
Aiming high will mean a better education for the country's 960,000 minority ethnic pupils, with a focus on school leadership and more professional recognition for teachers of pupils who speak English as an additional language.
Aiming high follows the most thorough consultation on minority ethnic education ever undertaken. The government launched the consultation document 'Aiming High: Raising the Achievement of Minority Ethnic Pupils' on March 4, 2003. The consultation lasted three months.
The consultation document marked the first time the government published figures on GCSEs for each ethnic group, which it will now do annually.
About 70% of all Black Caribbean pupils in the country go to school in London.
In 2002, only 30% of all Black pupils got five or more good GCSEs (grades A* to C), compared to a national average of 51%.
Black pupils are around three times more likely than white pupils to be excluded from school.
A separate pilot scheme is benefiting schools in three London boroughs, using academic tutors to work specifically with black boys to engage them in education and raise standards.
Thirty schools taking part in the national pilot scheme to raise the achievement of African Caribbean pupils
The following schools are piloting new ways to raise the achievement of African Caribbean pupils - one of the lowest performing groups in the country.
Each school will receive a package of support, including resources to free up a senior manager to work on raising black achievement with advice and support from an expert consultant. They will also get written guidance on the best ways to raise black achievement, and support from the National College of School Leadership. Lessons learnt from the pilot scheme will be spread throughout the country.
LEA School No. of black pupils
Barnet Bishop Douglas 63
Barnet Christchurch 54
Brent Copland 95
Brent Queen's Park 69
Croydon Hayling Manor 59
EalingDrayton Manor 33
Enfield Enfield County 34
Hackney Stoke Newington School 34
Haringey Northumberland Park 70
Kensington and Chelsea Holland Park School 38
Lambeth Charles Edward Brooke 107
Lambeth Bishop Thomas Grant 83
Lewisham Northbrook 38
Lewisham St Joseph's Academy 75
Southwark Archbishop Michael Ramsey 122
Wandsworth Chestnut Grove School 48
Westminster Westminster City School 38
Waltham Forest Leytonstone School 45
Birmingham Lordswood Girls 23
Birmingham Perry Barr 27
Wolverhampton Wednesfield 26
Wolverhampton Aldersley 19
Manchester Trinity School 69
Manchester Oakwood High 43
Liverpool Childwall School 23
Sheffield Abbeydale School 30
Leeds Roundhay School 18
Bristol Fairfield School 17
Bristol Whitefield Fishpond 24
Bristol St Thomas More 27
LEAs for National Primary Strategy English as an Additional Language (EAL) pilot.
The following LEAs are taking part in the national pilot scheme leading the way on giving more help and support to bilingual pupils in primary schools. Teachers throughout each LEA will get training and materials to help better support bilingual pupils, and schools will get guidance from expert consultants and one of two regional directors.
South East Slough
London Outer Ealing
London Inner Hackney