Systematic Barriers: Black pupils are three times more likely to get excluded than any other ethnic group

Five years ago, I was disturbed when I researched the statistics of the attainment of Black Caribbean children to find a legacy of underachievement and high levels of exclusion rates in UK public schools. Fast forward to the present day, nothing has changed!  As a Black male teacher and scholar of ‘Caribbean’ decent this led me to embrace the responsibility to make a positive change and disrupt systematic educational barriers on a micro and macro level and raise the attainment, aspirations and opportunities for Black and Global Majority (BGM) children.

The latest figures reveal that there has been a sharp rise in permanent exclusions from English state schools. Black Caribbean children are more likely to be identified as having social and emotional difficulties (Lumby and Coleman, 2016). Therefore, Black Caribbean children have a permanent exclusion rate nearly three times higher (0.28 per cent) than the school population as a whole (0.10 per cent) (DfE, 2018). This is a major concern, as those children that are being excluded are five times more likely to go to prison (www.ed.ac.uk).

This is not a current trend, as Black Caribbean students have been overrepresented in permanent exclusions for decades. This is a part of a structure of institutionalised racism where ethnicity has subtly had an impact on perceptions, aspirations and identity of Black youths. This is a system where those who are advantaged by the current system have no interest in opposing change as discussed by Lumby and Coleman (2016).

By having a colour blind ‘one size fits all’ approach, this epidemic will not change the exclusion rates for Black Caribbean children. A cultural approach is needed, addressing the vast range of barriers these children face

Over the upcoming weeks, I will attempt to add more context to the issue by addressing race-specific barriers and the framework of colour-blind racism- the lack of attention allocated towards race and racial identity, that ultimately leads to exclusion and underachievement of Black children.

 

Additional reading;

Lumby, J and Coleman, M (2016) Leading for Equality, Making Schools Fairer. London: Sage.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/permanent-and-fixed-period-exclusions-in-england-2016-to-2017

 

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Black Lawyers Matter- Lemn Sissay Law Bursaries

“Considering the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system upon African Caribbean men, why are so few of our young men going to university to study law?” – THE LEMN SISSAY LAW BURSARIES.

 

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Beyond the Implicit Bias test. Strategies for deep rooted diversity and equality in Education

Image result for implicit bias test animated gif

Have you taken the implicit bias test? Follow link: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html 

The test highlights your personal biases relating to issues such as gender, religion, race, skin colour etc. It is a good introduction for a whole school staff training to discuss issues relating to biases relating to discrimination in education. However, schools are at risk of using the tests as ‘edu-tainment’ – a standalone strategy to justify equality training within a school to adhere to guidelines set by the government.

Image result for implicit bias test What could we start doing to ensure that equality and diversity is embedded in your schools policies and processes?

Leading Equality has designed an audit that specifically focused on issues relating to Diversity and equality within a school. The audit tool monitors areas such as;

  • Communication strategy
  • Racism policy
  • Recruitment process
  • Staff training
  • Community cohesion
  • Data of staff and student representation
  • How the school identifies opportunities to celebrate diversity
  • The schools approach to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying

The audit template will be available for download from the 28.07.17

 

 

 

 

 

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Ragged Schools, Grammar Schools and Social Segregation

The ‘Ragged Schools’ were developed in working class areas in Victorian Britain and was the start of free comprehensive schooling. These schools were set up for the poorest families in contrast to the private schools set for the wealthy . Subsequently, reinforcing social class and division.

The government have invested £50 million of funding  to support the expansion of grammar schools to support the gifted and the talented. is the country at risk  of repeating the cycle of social segregation and elitism?

 

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