Over the last decade the underperforming groups issues that have shaped thinking practice in schools have changed significantly. Today, a high level of education is no longer a luxury for some groups or social classes, but a necessity for every one in British society. Yet Black Caribbean heritage pupils' achievements lag far behind the average achievement of the majority of their peers and the gap is growing at the end of primary and secondary education. Despite much academic debate and policy makers' concern about underachievement in schools, the needs of Black Caribbean pupils have not been addressed in the education system and have been largely neglected. This research paper examines critically the national policy agenda, the extent of and reasons for underachievement of pupils of Black Caribbean heritage throughout each key stage in an inner city LEA. Statistical trends and patterns of performance are analysed by ethnic factors to illustrate differences in attainment. The paper questions the current national policy agenda for improving achievement for all pupils, and argues critically that the issues surrounding Black Caribbean pupils' underachievement are real and should not be underestimated in national policy formulation. Policy implications for government and for all concerned with school improvement are highlighted, as well as many practical suggestions.