Government pledges to tackle ethnic inequalities in schools

Frederick Owens
October 11, 2017

Theresa May will challenge society to "explain or change" disparities in how people from different ethnic backgrounds are treated, as the Government publishes the results of a wide-ranging audit of public services.

The first national survey of its kind found huge gulfs in experience of health, housing and education, which also varied based on geography.

Chinese and Asian pupils perform better than white and black children in secondary school.

The figures showed 74 per cent of those describing themselves as white British are employed in Yorkshire compared to just 54 per cent who come from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background.

"Indian people in work were the most likely of any ethnic group to work in the highest-skilled occupational groups: over 1 in 10 were in manager, director and senior official roles and over 3 in 10 were in professional occupations", the Race Disparity Audit notes.

Among poorer children, who are eligible for free school meals, those from minority backgrounds have higher attainment levels for reading, writing and maths than white pupils.

White adults in Britain are almost twice as likely to own a home as those of black and other ethnic minority groups.

Tuesday's audit release coincided with new research that suggested ethnic-minority women are being hardest hit by austerity.

"If these disparities can not be explained then they must be changed", May said following the report, calling on government and the UK's institutions.

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Theresa May warned there would be "nowhere to hide" ahead of the publication of the Government's first "race disparity audit". These issues are now out in the open.

According to Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, the data would not provide the answers to why disparity existed, but said the government wanted to work with outside groups to come up with ways it could tackle the injustice.

"As Prime Minister, knowing full well the damage that would be caused by the Conservative cuts, Theresa May has done nothing but exacerbate the problem", said Ms Butler.

"That was something where she had the data, analysed it, thought it was unacceptable and just by shining a light on it, it changed practice". She said that she was determined to root out "burning injustices" and she expected to have a parliamentary majority to make that possible.

Ministers have laid bare the shocking gaps in wealth, health and crime rates between different races by setting up a website with statistics on every aspect of society.

Al Jazeera's Paul Brennan reports from London.

David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the data must be used "to set the foundations for real change" and address the "entrenched inequality" revealed by the audit.

■ Of all applicants shortlisted for NHS jobs in England, white candidates were more likely to be appointed - some 18 per cent of whites shortlisted got the job compared with 11 per cent of ethnic minorities.

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