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 firstname.lastname@example.org