The report claims to “shed new light on the gulf between the rhetoric and reality of education policy and race equality in England”.
It says that policymakers have engaged in ‘gap talk’: a tendency to “selectively cite apparently impressive percentage improvements (measured over a brief timescale) in order to give the impression that things are getting better”.
The report quotes more than a decade of statements by the government about the progress of black pupils, most recently Lord Nash
in 2014, saying “for years black pupils’ results have lagged behind their peers’ but that gap is being eroded at all levels”.
The figures in the report show that the comparative odds against black pupils achieving the GCSE benchmark had fallen in 2012 and 2013, but this was after they increased in the wake of the introduction of the Ebacc.
The the paper says: “Despite repeated assertions that the black-white gap is ‘being eroded’, ‘narrowing’ and
‘closing’, the odds of greater success for white students remain significant throughout the 25 years we have reviewed; fluctuating between one and half and more than twice the chance of their black Caribbean peers.
“In this way, policymakers’ ‘gap talk’ has distracted from a recognition that there has been little improvement in the substantive race inequality between the achievements of white British and black Caribbean students in the benchmark measures of success.”