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Video series launched to tackle educational underachievement

MAKING THE DIFFERENCE: Video series will highlight ways to help Bristol pupils who are underachieving in school

NINE ONLINE videos aimed at tackling educational underachievement in Bristol have been launched.

The Making the Difference series of videos were created following research carried out by Professor Leon Tikly and his team at the University of Bristol Graduate School of Education and commissioned by the Bristol Education Attainment Partnership, a joint enterprise of Bristol City Council and the Bristol Legacy Commission.

The research and the video series focus on seven key areas of successful practice in Bristol schools that each contribute to high expectations and attainment for all, including creating an ethos of high expectations with zero tolerance for under achievement, supporting pupils’ learning, having an inclusive and relevant curriculum and communicating and engaging with parents.

Among the film topics are: Leadership, Changing Demography, Role Models, Parental Engagement, Poverty, Best Practice and Hope and Aspiration.

The study found that Bristol is seeing increasing diversity in the number of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) learners in its state-funded schools with newer arrivals, particularly from Somalia and Eastern Europe, joining the city’s established African Caribbean and Asian heritage communities.

The 2012 School Census shows that 32 per cent of learners are from BME groups, compared with 25 per cent five years previously.

While educational standards in the city have been consistently improving at the key stages over the last five years, improvement rates vary and inequalities in educational outcomes remain.

Professor Leon Tikley said: “What is vital to raise attainment for all is good leadership, a safe and supportive learning environment, well-trained, empowered teachers with a strong sense of their professional identity and a relevant curriculum that respects diversity.”

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Paul Jacobs, Bristol City Council’s service director for education and skills, said: “The council and our partners support the work and efforts made to create this video series and hope that it will be a valuable new resource for schools in raising educational achievement of all pupils. We have also just launched Learning City, an initiative that unites the city’s leaders, both in education and business, to work together to raise educational achievement so that every citizen has access to a good education.”

The study found that Somali learners, Eastern European boys, Black Caribbean boys, Gypsy/Roma and Traveller learners were below average at each of the key stages.

The research also found that White British learners eligible for free school meals also represent a significant “at risk of underachievement” group.
Achievement and underachievement was found to be the result of multiple factors including poverty, the level of young people’s aspirations and those of their parents, teachers’ expectations and the quality of engagement between schools and parents.

It found that all BME groups would be better supported if there were more credible and positive mentors available to them.

A lack of positive role models has also been identified as a factor in the underachievement of White British learners who are eligible for free school meals.

Among those who spoke at the launch of the video series last week was its presenter and co-producer, broadcaster Sherrie Eugene-Hart and Bristol’s Lord Mayor Alastair Watson.

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