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Focus on fears for white boys; CONFERENCE: Disadvantaged youth drawn to the Far Right.

Byline: Tony Collins

THE plight of disadvantaged white schoolboys and their possible attraction as recruits for Far Fight organisations was being considered today at a conference in Birmingham.

The event at the National Exhibition Centre was organised by Birmingham City Council, with the focus being the underachievement of white pupils from poor backgrounds.

Experts in the fields of education, race, class and attainment were discussing ways of raising the achievement of white working class pupils, especially boys.

The Raising Achievement of White Working Class Pupils conference follows growing concerns nationally about the dangers of white schoolboys from less well-off backgrounds being recruited by Far Right groups as they grow increasingly disaffected and de-motivated.

A recent city council report into under-achieving children showed that "white disadvantaged" pupils are performing significantly below the Birmingham average throughout their schooling.

A meeting of the city's education scrutiny committee was told that "extremist attitudes" existed in predominantly white working class areas such as Longbridge and Sheldon.

And National Union of Teachers representative Nigel Baker warned that certain areas of Birmingham had become "breeding grounds for extremism for right wing parties".

A separate 12-month study, carried out by experts at Newman University College in Bartley Green on behalf of the Government's Aimhigher campaign, concluded that "alienation and disaffection" were rife among white working class boys.

They claimed that "winding up" teachers was just as important as educational success for a group of pupils facing the prospect of deadend jobs when they leave school. A city council spokesman said: "White boys on free school meals are the lowest achieving group of pupils nationally with white disadvantaged girls also under-performing."

OUR SAY: PAGE 44
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Article Type:Conference news
Date:Sep 21, 2009
Words:276
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