Priority challenges in one local authority [January 2013] *
Please find enclosed a short research briefing prepared by our School Improvement and Inclusion Team. This includes a one page summary of national research on the indicators of educational disadvantage facing Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean-White heritage students. It also examines the situation here in this authority and highlights that:
- Black Caribbean children are one of the highest achieving groups at 5 years old in our schools and settings but their performance at 16 is well below the performance of all pupils.
- Mixed Black Caribbean/White pupils start off at a disadvantage at 5 years old and this gap widens through their schooling in this authority.
- Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean-White pupils here make less than average progress between the ages of 7 and 11 and less progress than similar pupils nationally.
- Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean-White pupils here make less than average progress between the ages of 11 and 16 and less progress than similar pupils nationally. In our primary schools, Black Caribbean pupils are twice as likely as other pupils to be identified as having behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD) and Mixed Black Caribbean-White pupils are three times as likely to be similarly identified.
- In our secondary schools, Black Caribbean students are more likely than other students to be identified as having BESD and Mixed Black Caribbean-White students are twice as likely. Mixed Black Caribbean-White pupils are at least four times as likely to be excluded from our primary and secondary schools than other pupils and more likely to be excluded than similar pupils nationally.
I know you will agree with me that these indicators are truly disturbing. As a Directorate, we are asking all our services to look particularly carefully at the impact of their work on Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean-White children and families as part of our Council Equality Objectives. I am sure that you will want to support our drive for fairness by looking carefully at the outcomes for Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean pupils in your school, alongside those eligible for free school meals. Publishing equality information annually is a legal obligation. We would strongly recommend that you publish information relating to the outcomes for Black pupils at your school as part of this equality information. We would also recommend that you consider revising your current equality objectives to include one related to Black Caribbean and Mixed Black Caribbean. We are in the process of updating our action plan on this issue. In order to ensure that this action plan covers the issues that are important to the authority’s schools and would be grateful if you could confirm the action you are planning to take and any support you require.
Yours sincerely Director of Education
* Source: Equality Duties and Equality Challenges in Education - Reviewing the public sector equality duty, summer 2013, Insted Consultancy, London