Chinese Pupils Lead Field In English

Chinese pupils lead field in English

Alexandra Smith
Friday February 16, 2007

Pupils of Chinese origin have outperformed every other British group in English by the age of 11, a new government analysis of exam results reveals.

Schoolchildren of Indian origin come second, with 85% achieving the same standard, but only 80% of white British pupils reach a similar level in the assessment, the ethnic breakdown of results shows.

Chinese pupils have the best results of all ethnic groups in national curriculum tests at 11, with 86% reaching the required standard. The figures include recent Chinese immigrants who do not have English as a first language.

Similar levels of performance continue through to GCSE level, where 65.8% of Chinese-origin pupils obtain five A*- to C-grade passes, including in maths and English. Pupils of Indian origin also outperform the white British.

More than 1,000 Chinese-origin pupils sat the English national curriculum test for 11-year-olds last year, and 2,200 sat their GCSEs.

The report based on the analysis says: “Chinese, pupils of mixed white and Asian heritage, Irish and Indian pupils consistently achieve above the national average across key stage 2, key stage 3 and key stage 4. For example, at key stage 2 mathematics, 92% of Chinese pupils and 83% of mixed white and Asian heritage pupils achieved the expected level or above, compared with 75% nationally. Similar differences to the national figure are observed in English and science, with a less marked difference in science.”

The release of the figures comes as the Conservative leader, David Cameron, today called for a greater emphasis on family life. Speaking to a youth agency in his Oxfordshire constituency, Mr Cameron said the Tories' former emphasis on economic competitiveness belonged to “another political era”.

He said: “I'll tell you what's going wrong in our society. We have too many children behaving like adults, and too many adults behaving like children.”

His comments follow a Unicef report released last week that said the quality of life for children in Britain was poor relative to other advanced industrial nations. A breakdown in family relationships was cited as one of the main factors in causing such deprivation.

Parents in families of Chinese origin typically stress the value of homework – and many children attend special Saturday schools to improve their performance.

The schools minister, Andrew Adonis, said in response to the new analysis: “We welcome these figures, which confirm the sustained progress the government is making in closing the gap between black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils and other pupils at GCSE and equivalent.

“Programmes like Aiming High and London Challenge are working and taking us in the right direction. A recent evaluation report on Aiming High also gives more promising signs for the future.

“The project boosted test results for 14-year-olds – a good guide to future GCSE results. I am also encouraged by the increases for Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black pupils at key stage 3. In particular, attainment for all pupils has increased in maths and science, with Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black pupils increasing at a faster rate than the average.”