Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 July 2014
Immigration of non-White ethnic minority groups to the United Kingdom is a largely post-World War II phenomenon. The first main waves of migrants arrived from the Caribbean in the late 1940s and 1950s; less than two decades later, African-Caribbean communities were expressing concern over their children's school achievements, and by 1979 an official Committee of Enquiry had been established to report on the educational needs and attainments of children of Caribbean origin. Subsequent waves of immigration, predominantly from south Asia and Africa, have been followed by further concerns, but also by awareness of the diversity in patterns of attainment that has emerged: most second-generation minority groups have made marked progress by comparison with the migrant generation, and by the mid-1990s some of the most, as well as the least, positive school achievements were recorded by young people from minority communities.
This chapter examines recent evidence on the attainments of ethnic minorities in the United Kingdom, and the factors thought likely to influence them. First, to set the empirical findings in context, it provides a brief overview of patterns of immigration to Britain in the second half of the twentieth century, and the geographical location and economic and social status of minority groups in the current population. Second, it reviews recent empirical evidence on the attainments of minority children and young people at different stages in the educational process, from entry to primary school to involvement in further and higher education.