standards among vulnerable children to give them the life chances
they deserve, schools minister Charles Clarke said.
Speaking at a conference in London organised by the National
to boost achievement among children who truant, are excluded from
school, from ethnic minority backgrounds, those in care and traveller
Mr Clarke said: 'We can only raise standards for vulnerable children
if they are in school and learning. That's why we are spending nearly
£500m over the next three years to reduce the level of truancy
and avoidable exclusions by a third by 2002.
'We have issued new guidance on attendance, pupil behaviour,
exclusions and education out of school. The emphasis is on early
intervention and prevention through multi-agency working which will
provide a long-term solution.
'We are determined to raise educational attainment among those ethnic
groups which are under-performing. Our£430m Ethnic Minority
Achievement Grant is targeting teachers and teaching assistants where
they are most needed to improve understanding of English.'
'And we are currently working hard to raise achievement for children
in care. New guidance launched by David Blunkett last month
recommended designated teachers in every school and an onus on social
services to secure education at the same time as finding care
'Of course, vulnerable children may be particularly susceptible to
bullying and at risk of drugs misuse. We are ensuring that children
are protected from bullying. We have introduced legislation which
requires from this September that headteachers have an anti-bullying
policy in place.
'The government is also ensuring that pupils are given information on
drugs appropriate to their age and experience so that they can resist
them before they are drawn into experimentation. My department issued
new drug education guidance in November last year showing how drug
education could be delivered effectively.
'We fully recognise that schools and children need the support and
encouragement of parents in their education about the dangers of
drugs. For several years now we have been supporting LEAs' community
drug awareness programmes which have proved effective in raising
levels of parental involvement.'