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Raising the achievement of Portuguese pupils in British schools: a case study of good practice

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The aim of the research was to study the experiences of Portuguese heritage pupils in British schools. The main findings from empirical data suggest Portuguese children are underachieving at the end of primary education but the case study confirms that in good schools Portuguese pupils do well and have made huge improvements over the periods. The findings show that the case study schools have adopted a number of strategies to overcome some of the barriers to achievement including parental engagement, effective use of a more diverse workforce, developing an inclusive ethos and curriculum, effective English language support for Portuguese pupils, monitoring performance of Portuguese pupils and good and well-coordinated targeted support through extensive use of teachers, teaching assistants, learning mentors and Portuguese classes. The study argues that the worryingly low-achievement levels of many Portuguese pupils in British schools have been masked by Government statistics that fail to distinguish between European ethnic groups. Policy implications for all concerned with school improvement are highlighted in the final section.

Keywords: Portuguese; attainment; ethnic background; raising achievement; school improve-ment

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Lambeth Research and Statistics Unit, International House, Children and Young People's Service, Canterbury Crescent, London, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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