Friday, January 12, 2007

Black Caribbean children are more than three times more likely to be excluded from schools in Ealing, London than white children

David Doyle:

The figures, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, show that across the 13 comprehensive schools in the borough black pupils are more at risk of being both temporarily and permanently excluded.

The statistics follow the leaking of a government report to the Independent in December that branded Britain's schools as "institutionally racist".

And now Arvind Sharma, director of the Ealing Race Equality Council, has branded the situation "disappointing".

He said: "The whole situation is sad, gravely disappointing and a real concern.

"I have looked at the national figures and there seems to be strong similarities with Ealing in terms of the rates of exclusion.

"It seems to be disproportionately and unfairly high.

"The long and short of it is many young black people - and particularly young black boys - are being excluded. We have got to agree that can't be right.

"We shouldn't get stuck in whether or not this is institutional racism but that many young people are losing their opportunities for education.

"National and local government need to recognise that the blunt facts are as they are.

"Years have gone by and very little seems to have changed - part of the reason for that is that this is a sensitive issue and people don't want to talk about it."

The statistics from Ealing Council show that black Caribbean pupils are 3.3 times more likely to be permanently expelled and 3.4 times more likely to be temporarily excluded.

Ealing council spokesman Neil Dhot said the borough would be piloting a scheme to improve achievement among black pupils.

He said: "This is an issue for schools and local authorities in London and across the country.

"In Ealing we are determined to reduce the number of school exclusions among pupils of all backgrounds and our strategy to reduce exclusion among black and minority ethnic pupils is showing some early signs of success.

"In addition, we are piloting a Black Pupils Achievement Programme in three local secondary schools to raise overall attainment and achievement of black pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4.

"This is already having a positive impact on pupils' self esteem, motivation and attitudes to work."

And headteachers from the borough have come forward to give their views on the exclusive figures.

Chris Sydenham, headteacher of The Ellen Wlikinson School for Girls: "We haven't excluded anyone from here for a few years now.

"We want to try and do everything we can for a child but sometimes there are no other alternatives.

"One of the things I have always said is we are wonderfully diverse.

"We have students from a wide variety of cultures and we work hard to make sure they are all successful."

Chris Mori, headteacher at Northolt High School said: "I think the issues go beyond schools.

"But one thing we are doing is bringing in an internal exclusion zone so that children can serve a period of exclusion within the school where they are given a diet of education and guidance.

"That applies to all children - black, white or Asian."

The information follows the leaking of the Whitehall report which was compiled by Peter Wanless, the director of school performance and reform at the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and two other officials.

The report showed that black Caribbean pupils across the UK are three times more likely to be excluded from school than white children and five times less likely to be on the official register of gifted or talented pupils.

It concluded: "The exclusions gap is caused by largely unwitting, but systematic, racial discrimination in the application of disciplinary and exclusions policies.

"Even with the best efforts to improve provision for excluded pupils, the continued existence of the exclusion gap means that black pupils are disproportionately denied mainstream education and the life chances that go with it.

"It is argued that unintentional racism stems from long-standing social conditioning involving negative images of black people, particularly black men, which stereotype them as threatening.

"Such conditioning is reinforced by the media portrayal of black 'street culture'. It encourages school staff to expect black pupils to be worse behaved and to perceive a greater level of threat."

DfES spokesman Omar Qirem added: "We have significantly reduced the number of disproportionate exclusions.

"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 rate of permanent exclusions for Afro-Caribbean children was four in 10,000, compared with around 1.3 for white British pupils


At 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One of the things I have always said is we are wonderfully diverse..."

What a fucking moron.


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