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'Aspiration gap' leaves white children in Croydon lagging behind

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CROYDON'S white British children are slipping behind their Asian peers because of a lack of aspiration, it was claimed this week.

Responding to the results of a report which named the widening achievement gap as an issue which needed to be addressed, Vidhi Mohan, the council's representative for communities, said cultural differences were a key reason.

He told the Advertiser: "Among the south Asian communities there is an emphasis on education and getting degrees and higher education and going to university.

"It is, in some ways, a cultural thing. A lot of them are immigrant communities so they normally find they want to work harder and create a better life for themselves and then pass this culture on to their kids.

"Also, with the Indian community, especially in Croydon, we find a lot of them are economically more prosperous and so that is something that also reflects in attitudes.

"The white community has far more economic diversity, so we do have to take that into account."

Indian students are the highest performers at GCSE level, the latest figures show, with 80 per cent scoring five A* to C grades including English and maths.

Meanwhile, 61 per cent of white British pupils achieve the same grades, meaning the gap has widened from 12 to 19 per cent over three years.

Councillor Mohan thinks the situation has also been compounded by a slip in standards.

He added: "There is an issue about exams that probably have been getting simpler. We hope that what the Government is doing will get back to a more rigorous exam system."

After Indians, Bangladeshis are the second highest performing community, with 74 per cent scoring five A* to C grades including English and Maths.

Black Caribbeans were the worst performing group, along with those who record themselves as from "Any other Asian Background".

Both finished on 56 per cent for the 2010/2011 figures – the latest available breakdown by ethnicity.

When English and maths are not included, a higher proportion of students whose first language is not English achieved five A* to C grades than students whose first language is English.

The figures also show a stark difference between girls and boys across Croydon. Female pupils continue to outperform boys with 61.9 per cent achieving five or more passes including the two key subjects compared to 54.6 per cent of boys.

Croydon Council's representative for children, families and learning, Tim Pollard, said: "Lack of aspiration is a key factor and I think it is true to say there are more white British children living in areas where there is less aspiration, as you're talking about a much larger community in terms of the numbers."

Recent Census figures show white Britons make up less than half of Croydon's population – 47.3 per cent.

'Aspiration gap' leaves white children in Croydon lagging behind


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