Children of Indian origin outshine others in Scotland
Children of parents of Indian origin outperformed all other pupils in last year's examinations in Scotland, repeating the performance of their counterparts in England.
The high performers were those from Indian, Chinese and mixed-race backgrounds, according to a report released by the Scottish Executive.
The breakdown of Scottish Qualification Authority data on Standard Grade and new National Qualifications also revealed that pupils in rural schools outstripped their counterparts in Scottish towns and cities.
Douglas Weir, a professor of social studies at Strathclyde University, credited the good results in certain ethnic groups to 'aspirational and supportive' parents.
He said, "Immigrants may have to start out in fairly low skilled jobs here, but they are often very determined that their children will succeed. We know that the home background is a very important factor in children's attainment."
Faizel Hussein, speaking for the Muslim Educational Council of Britain, said he believed that Scottish schools had high expectations of children from ethnic minorities.
Hussein, who is campaigning for a Muslim school in Dundee, added that he believed aspirations could change.
"I think for second- and third-generation families, education is not a means of survival. They tend to do what they want and then work, and ambition begins to falter," he said.
Children of Chinese origin were the most successful of all pupils, notching up 211 points under the Scottish tariff system used to assess academic results, compared to the average score of 168.
Children from a mixed race background came second, followed by Indian pupils - both groups well ahead of the average performance (170 points) of white British-born pupils in Scottish schools.
However, with scores of 163 and 154, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Asians were below average, recording the weakest results of all in the analysis of passes.
Andrew Hudson of the Midlothian Rural Schools Action Group said the national test results for pupils aged five to 14 years also indicated that children in rural schools were more successful.
The Executive's report reflects the gap between girls and boys at most levels of Scottish education. Girls scored an average of 177 under the tariff system, with boys at 159. Girls have been ahead since 1998.
English-born pupils - just 951 in a field of 61,000 candidates - were six points clear of their Scottish counterparts.