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Parents see forums as a way to tackle high exclusion rate

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Louise Brown discusses the importance of parent forums with exclusions specialists and community organisers

On 23 June 2018, PARC held a public meeting ‘Are parent forums the key to ending school exclusions.’ By showing the work of the group of parents that make up PARC, co-founder and director Louise Brown demonstrated that parent forums could make educational change. For example, PARC was invited to participate in a meeting aimed at identifying key ways in which schools could address the attainment gap between different categories of pupils. In addition, throughout the year PARC was able to share information on the updated guidance relating to school exclusions with parents. Louise went on to inform the meeting that it is clear that parents working together can make an impact and can help to reduce school exclusions by being informed of their rights and campaigning for a different approach.     

There was also time to highlight PARC’S unconscious bias campaign which is demanding that all teachers undertake unconscious bias training. This campaign is crucial as research shows that unconscious bias is one of the key barriers that African and African–Caribbean pupils face with regards to academic achievement. We believe that unconscious bias is playing a part in the fact that:
 

  • Black Caribbean pupils were permanently excluded at three times the rate of White British pupils;   
  • Black and Mixed pupils were the most likely to be permanently excluded and to have a fixed term exclusion;  
  • Over 34,900 Black children/young people (including Mixed White/Black) were excluded during the 2016/2017 academic year 

In addition to the disproportionate rate of exclusion mentioned above, research has shown that unconscious bias can also impact: 

Teacher beliefs – underestimating the intellectual capacity of Black children and young people 

Tracking – Black children placed in lower sets throughout their school careers. 

There is a need for parents to be organised to campaign for a just education system. If you are interested in forming a parent forum then please contact PARC by emailing us at info@parentsactionresource.org.uk

 

Permanent exclusions up from 2017

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Recent government statistics indicate that the number and rate of permanent exclusions from state schools increased since last year (2017).   

The majority of the permanent exclusions during the academic year 16/17 involved secondary school pupils. The report states that ‘over half of all permanent (57.2 per cent) and fixed period (52.6 per cent) exclusions occur in national curriculum year 9 or above’ (page 6). 

The main reason given for the bulk of these exclusions was ‘persistent disruptive behavior.’ Boys were three times more likely to be permanently excluded than girls. Whilst pupils receiving special educational needs support were six times more likely to be excluded than pupils who were not recorded as receiving this support. However, a recent case may have the effect of reducing these exclusions.  The statistics also reveal that African Caribbean pupils were nearly 3 times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than other ethnic groups. All in all these statistics show the need for collective action by parents to reduce the number of exclusions.  

PARC demands unconscious bias training for all teachers

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The recent race audit report, published by the government in October 2017, highlights that Black Caribbean pupils were permanently excluded at three times the rate of White British pupils during the 2016 to 2017 academic year. It also states that, during this period, Black and Mixed race pupils were the most likely to be permanently excluded and to have a fixed term exclusion. According to research in this area, unconscious bias plays a role in high rates of exclusion among these groups.

Unconscious bias also impacts:

  • teacher beliefs – underestimating the intellectual capacity of Black children and young people
  • tracking – Black children placed in lower sets throughout their school careers.

PARC has initiated a campaign to improve the situation by launching a petition and asking the secretary of state responsible for school standards to implement a programme of unconscious bias training for initial teacher training and continuing professional development.

Chair of PARC, Ade Banjoko, “Whilst we fully recognise that a training course will not result in a dramatic fall in exclusions overnight, in the longer term, it will have the desired impact of reducing the number of exclusions – not just for Black Caribbean pupils but for all those who are disproportionately excluded from school. This includes the Irish traveller pupils, Roma pupils and those pupils with special educational needs.”

If you agree with this proposal and wish to strengthen our campaign, please sign the petition.

Related research

http://research.upjohn.org/up_workingpapers/231/

http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/psp-a0035663.pdf

http://kirwaninstitute.osu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/racial-disproportionality-schools-02.pdf

Black parents discuss fair treatment of youth in the exclusions process

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By Vicky Ankrah

Despite freezing temperatures and unexpected snow, parents braved the weather to come out to the University of Westminster to hear the truth about exclusions in UK schools.  This was the fourth exclusions session run by PARC following from the first session held in Spring 2017.

There is undisputed disparity in the rates of exclusion among Black children compared to their peers. What makes matters worse is the fact that many parents are unfamiliar with the legal procedures and rights where exclusion is concerned.

In this session, Ade Banjoko, chair of PARC, gave attendees key information about how parents can address the school system and support a young person to make sure they are given fair treatment should they be at risk of exclusion or have been excluded.

Louise Brown, joint director of the organisation, took the opportunity to talk about the organisation’s launch of the Check your Bias campaign, which seeks to highlight the importance of teachers’ awareness of how their unconscious biases can impact negatively on the educational outcomes of children and young people.

If you would like more information about PARC, contact us at info@parentsactionresource.org.uk or follow us on Twitter @uk_parc.

To sign our Check your Bias petition, click here.

Parents discuss impact of unconscious bias on Black children and young people

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Parents and carers gathered in Marylebone for the third exclusions session hosted by Parents Action and Resource Centre on Saturday 10th February. Parents had the opportunity to share their personal experiences as well as gain essential information on the school exclusions process. PARC used this opportunity to launch its Check your bias campaign which aims to raise awareness of the need for staff in education settings to receive unconscious bias training due to its disproportionate impact on Black children and young people.

“This is a measure that, if implemented, would go a long way in addressing some of the inequalities in education, especially around the disproportionate exclusions faced by particular groups of children and young people,” commented Ade Banjoko, chair of PARC.

Related research
Race and the disciplining of young students, 2015 (Okonofua, Eberhardt)

If you would like more information on the Check your bias campaign, email info@parentsactionresource.org.uk

 

Changing the narrative and challenging the stereotypes at Black Parents and Youth Conference

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We are all too aware of how the mainstream media portrays young people of African and Caribbean decent.  Images of drug dealers, entertainers or single mothers are frequently shown or alluded to.  PARC’s recent workshop sort to challenge the negative imagery, with a focus on positive racial identity.  The introduction posed the question “What a positive racial identity is?” The majority of parents agreed that it encompassed confidence, high self-esteem and an understanding of who we are as a people.  The presentation addressed the issues around the materials taught for Black History Month.  Parents felt that there is too much emphasis on slavery and that it is taught in a Eurocentric manner. It was also noted that the children’s views are formed very early in life.   These views, if negative should be replaced with more positive views and images of black people.  In order to reinforce a positive identity, it was agreed that children should be taught their history at home and parents should have conversations about how black people and Africa are shown on TV.  

 

 

 

PARC joins community debate on employment opportunities and gang culture

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Ade Banjoko, chair of PARC, joined with Alkebulan-Lan Revivalist Movement leader Brother Leader Mbandaka, activist and actress Katie Downie and history teacher Yane Amos for lively debate on topical issues on Thursday 2 November.

The discussion covered a range of areas including the definition of feminism and the experiences of Black people who joined the police. In addition, a number of solutions were put forward to tackle ‘gang culture’.

PARC has been invited to another debate planned for 7.30pm on Wednesday 13 December 2017. Topics for discussion will include: gentrification, religion and current affairs.

For more details:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/conclusion-topical-debate-open-discussion-tickets-39572734113?aff=erelexpmlt

Black parents still not accessing available resources to boost their children’s self-esteem

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A discussion on the need for a positive racial identity, led by chair of PARC, Ade Banjoko revealed that despite the increasing availability of Black books, DVDs, supplementary schools and websites, parents are not accessing material that would support their child’s self-esteem.

At the Black Parents and Youth Conference at London Metropolitan University on Saturday 28 October, parents discussed media that showed positive images of Black children and the role of Saturday or supplementary schools in supporting their child’s academic achievement. In addition, information was shared on organisations that they could contact to develop their child’s understanding of African history.

Banjoko shared with the parents a compilation of research on the link between positive racial identity and academic achievement. The key findings of the research highlighted that parents have to be proactive in sourcing and accessing the materials because it has a positive impact on their educational outcome. It helps them build resilience, raises their self-esteem which in turn impacts their attainment.

“In these materials, Black children see children who look like them, children they can relate to, achieving academically and enjoying the experience. They then think to themselves, ‘Why can’t I do the same?’” added Banjoko.

For more information on the research and/or the Parents Action and Resource Centre, email: info@parentsactionresource.org.uk

Black students must see societies as more than just having parties

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Dauda Barry at Black Parents Conference 2017

At the London Black Parents and Youth Conference, held at London Metropolitan University in collaboration with PARC, on Saturday 28 October, Dauda Barry, former president of the Queen Mary University Pan African Society stressed the importance of joining student societies.

“Students need to see that university is not just an opportunity to gain a degree or other qualification but also, arguably, more importantly, to gain the tools to become an active participant in society and in their respective communities,” commented Dauda Barry.
London Metropolitan University student ambassadors at the conference confirmed this as they talked about the various extra-curricular opportunities that they had taken up since joining the university.
Parents were given an opportunity to ask questions to the ambassador-led youth panel regarding how their children could take advantage of these opportunities in further and higher education.
For more information on London Metropolitan University and/or the Parents Action and Resource Centre, email: info@parentsactionresource.org.uk

 

Getting the information we need to support Black youth

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How do you get parents to help themselves and their children when it comes to school exclusions?

“You don’t want to approach teachers just in case your child will be treated differently. My child forgot her reading diary three times and the teacher mentioned ‘exclusion’ to her which made me worry about her. I also worry about how to deal with the situation should she be at a real risk of exclusion. I want to be tooled up.”