UK & World News

  • 18 June 2014, 9:17

Poor White Pupils 'Need Longer School Days'

Longer school days could be introduced to boost the exam results of white working-class children who are lagging behind the rest of their classmates.

A report by the Commons Education Select Committee suggests days should be extended to give children somewhere to do their homework.

Figures show 32% of poor white British children got at least five C grades at GCSE, including English and maths last year, compared with 61.5% of poor children from an Indian background and 76.8% of poor children from a Chinese background.

The report also urged the Government to do more to attract good teachers to work in disadvantaged schools.

Committee chairman Graham Stuart said: "Poor white British children now come out of our schools with worse qualifications than equally poor children in any other major ethnic group.

"They do less homework and are more likely to miss school than other groups.

"We don't know how much of the under-performance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack of work ethic or weak parenting.

"What is certain is that great schools make a significant difference in turning poor children's education around."

The report said child many children from poor white backgrounds will end up as "Neet" (not in education, employment or training), after leaving school.

"This problem must be tackled by ensuring that the best teachers and leaders are incentivised to work in the schools and areas that need them most, and by providing better advice and guidance to young people," it said.

"Schools face a battle for resources and talent, and those serving poor white communities need a better chance of winning."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "The overriding objective of our reforms is to improve the attainment of the poorest children in society - and we are already seeing real improvements.

"We have made it easier for all schools, not just academies and free schools, to extend the length of the school day.

"This can transform long-term under-performing schools, demonstrated by the likes of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy."

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