This study analyses the educational progress of an entire national cohort of over 530,000 pupils in England between age 7 in 2000 and age 11 in 2004. The results show that Black Caribbean boys not entitled to free school meals, and particularly the more able pupils, made significantly less progress than their White British peers. There is no evidence that the gap results from Black Caribbean pupils attending less effective schools. There is also no evidence of differential effectiveness in relation to ethnic group; schools that were strong in facilitating the progress of White British pupils were equally strong in facilitating the progress of Black Caribbean pupils. There was some evidence of differential school effectiveness by pupil prior achievement, gender and poverty, but the absolute size of the effects were small. The results suggest the poor progress of Black Caribbean pupils reflects a systemic issue rather than the influence of a small number of ‘low quality’ schools
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