White British boys perform worst at school, says report

White British boys from poorer backgrounds are more likely than other social groups to perform badly at school, according to a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The report published yesterday found that nearly half of all low achievers leaving school are white British males. The two-year study compared girls and boys with similar income levels from different ethnic groups.

‘Tackling low educational achievement’ showed that white boys generally outnumber white girls as low achievers by three to two and have poorer reading and writing skills in primary school. They are also more likely to persist in under-achievement in secondary school than other groups.

Chinese and Indian pupils are most successful at school, while Afro-Caribbean pupils – who are the least successful on average – have been improving faster than the national average and did no worse than white British boys of similar economic backgrounds.

The authors suggest a number of policy changes, including more adequate school funding in relation to disadvantage and bringing in intensive help for those falling behind in primary school.

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