The rate of permanent exclusions for Afro-Caribbean children was four in 10,000, compared with around 1.3 for white British pupils
However, the rate for black African children was similar to the white British figure at around 1.5. Chinese pupils had the lowest exclusion rate of 0.2, followed by Indian children at 0.5, Bangladeshi at 0.8 and Pakistani at around 1.
"The report did not conclude that there was institutional racism in the school system," said a spokesman for the department. "In the light of this detailed work, ministers concluded that it would be inaccurate and counter-productive to brand the school system as racist. However, there is always more that some schools, parents and the government can do to ensure that every child fulfils their potential, whatever their background,"
The report, which was the work of Peter Wanless, the director of the unit in charge of school performance and reform, was leaked to The Independent on Sunday.
It said: "The exclusions gap is caused by largely unwitting, but systematic, racial discrimination in the application of disciplinary and exclusion policies. Even with the best efforts to improve provision for excluded pupils, the continued existence of the exclusion gap means black pupils are disproportionately denied mainstream education and the life chances that go with it."
The report states that 1,000 black pupils are permanently excluded from school each year and 30,000 for fixed periods.
But a leading figure on projects to improve the achievements of Afro-Caribbean boys dismissed the racism theory as "confused rubbish". Tony Sewell, a former education lecturer at Leeds University, said: "The boys complain that there is very little discipline because teachers seem afraid to challenge them. These boys are not in an environment where there are consequences for their actions and we should be asking questions about the lack of ethos, expectations and discipline in some schools."
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