Monday, April 09, 2007

Afro-Caribbean fathers must take greater responsibility for their children's education to stop black teenage boys turning to crime and gang culture

Graeme Paton:

The National Union of Teachers said parents in Afro-Caribbean communities, particularly fathers, must become better role models to stop their children being "engulfed" by damaging influences.

The warning is contained in a report to be launched today at the union's annual conference in Harrogate. One of the report's authors described the poor academic performance of black boys as "nothing short of a national scandal".

Today's report, Born to be Great, comes amid escalating fears over the extent of gun crime in Britain's inner-cities. In the report, the NUT warns that the poor academic performance of Afro-Caribbean boys at school is pushing hundreds towards a life of crime.

It says parents must play a bigger role in raising young boys, who increasingly get their cultural lead from older brothers, films and rap artists who glamorise gang membership and the carrying of firearms.

Gus John, visiting professor of education at Strathclyde University, who co-authored the report, said: "It would be foolish not to place responsibility on parents. Many parents themselves who have children at school have been socialised in a culture of low expectations and low aspirations."

The report said that there needed to be "an open discussion on the role of black fathers -- for example, black fathers could potentially serve as key role models".

Steve Sinnott, NUT general secretary, said: "Dads - live up to your responsibility."

Billy Cox, 15, was shot in his home in his Clapham home on Valentine's Day. He was the third teenager to be shot and killed in the capital in a fortnight.

The NUT said many of the problems were caused by the educational underachievement of black boys at school.

Last year, only 45 per cent of Afro-Caribbean pupils gained at least five good GCSEs compared to 57 per cent for white pupils. They are also much more likely to be expelled.

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