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Drivers and challenges in raising the achievement of pupils from Bangladeshi, Somali and Turkish backgrounds.

Evidence showed that attainment rates among Bangladeshi pupils had significantly improved over recent years, while Turkish and Somali pupils continued to perform below the national average. The Department for Children, Schools and Families wished to understand the reasons for the comparative success of Bangladeshi pupils and identify lessons that could be learned, to aid improvement in educational achievements of children from other ethnic backgrounds.

Our approach:

A multi-disciplinary team was brought together, consisting of ETHNOS, GFK/NOP, the Institute of Education and the University of Warwick. The team analysed national data sets, consisting of the National Pupil Database and the Pupil Level Annual School Census, as well as data from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in England. A survey of 284 Heads of Inclusion/Heads of Ethnic Minority Achievement in schools was also conducted, together with qualitative interviews with people responsible for ethnic minority achievement at local authority and secondary school levels. ETHNOS conducted qualitative interviews with Bangladeshi, Somali and Turkish parents of high-achieving and under-performing pupils. Interviews were conducted in Sylheti, Somali and Turkish.


The research identified the main drivers behind the comparative success of Bangladeshi pupils and identified good practice and lessons of relevance to the Turkish and Somali communities.