Raising the achievement of black and minority ethnic learners the view from research
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Raising the Achievement of Black and Minority Ethnic Learners: The View From Research. Professor Leon Tikly. Research. Projects and collaborators: EMAG evaluation (with Audrey Osler, John Hill) Mixed heritage (with Chamion Caballero, Jo Haynes, John Hill)

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Raising the achievement of black and minority ethnic learners the view from research l.jpg

Raising the Achievement of Black and Minority Ethnic Learners: The View From Research

Professor Leon Tikly

Research l.jpg
Research Learners: The View From Research

Projects and collaborators:

  • EMAG evaluation (with Audrey Osler, John Hill)

  • Mixed heritage (with Chamion Caballero, Jo Haynes, John Hill)

  • Aiming High Evaluation (ongoing) (with Dave Gilborn, Jo Haynes, Chamion Caballero, John Hill)

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Aims Learners: The View From Research

  • What is the relative achievement of Black pupils compared to other groups?

  • What evidence is there relating to the barriers to achievement?

  • What can schools do to overcome these barriers – towards the culturally learning school

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Bristol Fixed Term Exclusions by Ethnicity 2003/4 Learners: The View From Research

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What research shows us about achievement….. Learners: The View From Research

  • There is no inherent reason why any particular group should be underachieving- underachievement cannot be blamed on the child or the parent/carer.

  • “For each of the principal minority ethnic groups there is at

  • least one authority where they attain higher than the other

  • groups.” (Gillborn and Mirza 2000)

  • “In 1 in 10 LEAs, Black pupils are more likely to attain the

  • benchmark than white pupils at GCSE however, but in 4 times

  • as many LEAs the picture is reversed.” (Gillborn and

  • Mirza,2000)

  • There are a number of other factors that influence

  • achievement; social class, poverty, gender, time in the UK,

  • mother’s education level-however these do not explain the

  • persistent underachievement of certain BME groups.

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Barriers to Achievement for Black Caribbean pupils Learners: The View From Research

The key barriers to achievement facing Black pupils are:

  • they are more likely to come from socially disadvantaged backgrounds than white pupils;

  • are more likely to experience forms of institutionalised racism in the form of low teacher expectations;

  • and, are more likely to be excluded from school.

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Specific Barriers to Achievement for White/Black Caribbean Pupils

  • White/Black Caribbean pupils also face specific barriers to achievement:

    • Low expectations of pupils by teachers based on a stereotypical view of the fragmented home backgrounds and ‘confused’ identities

    • Experience racism from teachers and from their White and Black peers targeted at their mixed heritage;

    • This can lead to the adoption of what are perceived to be rebellious and challenging forms of behaviour.

    • Mixed heritage identities (including those of White/Black Caribbean, White/Black African and White/Asian pupils) are not recognised in the curriculum or in policies of schools and of LEAs.

    • Their invisibility from policy makes it difficult for their underachievement to be challenged

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Evidence Relating to Somali Refugees Pupils

  • An interrupted or non-existent educational experience in Somalia

  • Exposure to organised violence leading to psychological problems

  • Arrival with little or no English, both among adults and children

  • High level of parental illiteracy

  • High housing mobility resulting in children attending many schools in their first years in the UK

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Evidence Relating to Somali Refugees Pupils

  • A disproportionate number of female heads of household in UK and absence of male role models

  • Poor health in the UK – often a result of poverty and poor housing

  • Over-representation of Somali children in underachieving inner city school

  • Experiences of racial harassment by peers, leading to a fear of attending some schools

  • Teacher racism and stereotyping.

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Institutionalised racism Pupils

  • Weak leadership

  • Low teacher expectations

  • Low sets

  • Lower examination tiers

  • Failure to recognise the problem of underachievement

  • Failure to monitor data

  • Failure to deal with racist bullying

  • Inconsistent behaviour management

  • Failure to address exclusions

  • Failure to engage with parents

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The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 Pupils

General duty:

  • Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination

  • Promote racial equality

  • Promote good race relations between people of different racial groups

    Specific duty:

  • Race Equality Policy, Action Plan and review process in place

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The implications for schools: Pupils

To be proactive in promoting race equality

and cultural diversity in:

  • Identifying underachievement

  • Raising standards and promoting equality of opportunity for pupils who are underachieving

  • Curriculum content and delivery

  • Pupil admissions, assessments and discipline (including exclusions)

  • All assessment, monitoring, reviewing and evaluation systems

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National Policy Pupils

  • Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant

    • Raise achievement of groups at risk of underachieving

    • Support EAL learners

  • Aiming High

    • African Caribbean Achievement (to be rolled out as Black pupils achievement project)

    • Gypsy Traveller

    • EAL

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Elements of a Culturally Learning School Pupils

LEA Support

and Challenge

National Policy

and funding

Race Relations





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Towards a Culturally Learning School Pupils

  • A culturally learning school is aware of the changing racial and cultural composition of the school community and is prepared to respond positively to these;

  • A headteacher and senior management team who are alert to changes of policy either at government or LEA level and are proactive in anticipating the implications of new policy for their schools;

  • keen to pilot new initiatives where these are seen to have positive outcomes for minority ethnic groups;

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Towards a Culturally Learning School Pupils

  • Open and responsive to the views of teachers, parents and pupils and encourage leadership and responsibility throughout the school community;

  • The leadership both support and challenge teachers to realise high expectations for all learners;

  • Ongoing reaffirmation and discussion of equal opportunities and race equality policies and to challenge institutionalised racism;

  • Carefully monitor quantitative and qualitative performance data relating to ethnicity as well as data relating to attendance, exclusion and the inclusion of mixed heritage and other minority ethnic pupils in top sets and higher examination tiers

  • Continuous staff development as a means to understand and develop effective strategies to raise the achievement of mixed and ‘mono heritage’ groups.

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Strategies that work Pupils

  • Careful monitoring of achievement and target underachievement

  • Support for bilingual learners

  • Collating and disseminating good practice

  • Setting effective targets for minority ethnic learners.

  • Strategies to train senior managers and governors in the use of EMAG

  • Co-ordinating the work of mainstream and specialist EMAG staff;

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Strategies that work Pupils

  • Providing SENCO training on the needs of SEN minority ethnic learners.

  • Supporting supplementary schools/ classes

  • Supporting mentoring schemes

  • Consultation with minority ethnic groups over the use of EMAG

  • Facilitating home/school visits

  • The establishment of support groups for specific groups of minority ethnic learners and parents.