'Championing the rights of children'

Racism fear held back white working class pupils - Ofsted inspector

Garry Wed 15 Jan 2014 20:53

Teachers have not paid enough attention to poorly performing white children for fear of being seen as racist, an Ofsted inspector has suggested.

Chris Wood told MPs Ofsted was now urging schools to focus on white working class children, amid concerns they are getting a raw deal.

Lib Dem MP David Ward said most ethnic groups had representatives to speak up for their children's education needs.

But there were few pushing the cause of white working class children.

"Is there any evidence that anyone is actually speaking up for the white working class?," the Bradford East MP asked a panel of education experts.

"I get representatives from the Bangladeshi community complaining about 'our children in our schools' or the Pakistani community or the Kashmiri community. I find it difficult to think of a representative for the white working class who comes to me and says 'what about our children'... if they are, they are probably the BNP or would be accused of racism."

Mr Wood, who heads an Ofsted review into access and achievement, agreed with Mr Ward's assessment but said the emphasis had changed over the past two years.

He told MPs: "There is a much clearer focus on the performance of different groups of pupils who are eligible for free school meals, with white British being a clear focus group that we have identified through our reports, through this year's annual report.

"So it's finding its way into our inspection activity so schools are much more au fait with talking about those groups of pupils.

"I would argue in the past that was not the case and it could very well be because of a certain discomfort about talking about that group for the reasons you have suggested, around it being seen as an extreme view.

"But that is changing and we are certainly putting additional focus on that area."

Read more... (BBC News - 15 January)