Mr Clarke was speaking at the recent launch of a report by the Runnymede Trust. The study highlights practical initiatives by schools and community organisations to tackle the educational disadvantage young black people can experience.
Mr Clarke said: 'Children from ethnic minorities are a vibrant part of the richly diverse, multi-cultural society in which we live. Many Asian children achieve very good results - better than average. It is regrettable therefore that some ethnic minority pupils are under-achieving.
'It is vital that we ensure they have the same opportunities to succeed as everyone else. That is why we have invested more than£430 million in the new Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant to help raise standards of achievement.'
'This new programme, coupled with the government's£500m investment over the next three years to tackle truancy and exclusion, signals our continued commitment to address inequality and exclusion.
'This research by the Runnymede Trust is a valuable contribution to the evidence available about strategies which can make a difference to the educational attainment of pupils from ethnic minorities.'
1. Improving Practice: A Whole School Approach to Raising the Achievement of African Caribbean Youth is published by the registered charity the Runnymede Trust and Nottingham Trent University. The report, which provides strategies for working with young African-Caribbean people who are under-achieving at school, is aimed at teachers, governors, parents and youth workers. To order a copy contact Central Books on 0181 986 4854 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The launch of the report took place at Stockwell Park School, Clapham Road, Clapham.
3. Education and employment secretary David Blunkett announced the new Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant on 12 November 1998.