WHY ARE black children more likely to be excluded from school and what help can parents receive to challenge these exclusions and discrimination faced in the education sector?
This is the focus of The Black Child Agenda conference Tackling The Schools To Prison Pipeline.
Research by the Education Policy Institute has shown that ‘black Caribbean pupils have been disproportionately subjected to permanent exclusion from school, and this continues to be the case to this day.’ In fact, statistics reveal that a black Caribbean boy in receipt of free school meals and with special educational needs is 168 times more likely to be permanently excluded than a white British girl without special educational needs.
The Black Child Agenda, founded by Cheryl Phoenix, is a community interest company supporting children and families throughout the UK who face discrimination, permanent exclusion, bullying, isolation and those not being correctly supported with mental health concerns.
“We want to educate parents, young people and community members on the law around education. So, we will be covering issues such as stop and search, your rights if you’ve been arrested, how easy it is for your child to be groomed into county lines,” Cheryl said.
“We will also look at educational issues such as exclusions, panel hearings, court proceedings, special educational needs, navigating the social services system, care proceedings and safeguarding.”
The London-based organisation is hosting the event in association with Team GREAT, a Manchester based group with similar aims. In addition to parents and carers, professionals such as teachers and social workers have attended past events and it is very much a family affair with activities provided for children throughout the day.
“People will walk away with right here and now practical knowledge – factual information that they can use immediately. This is an important event for anyone with a child within the education system.
“Whether they are doing well or struggling it is an event that you need to tap into because it arms you with the power and information that you need to be able to make a conscious decision about what to do if your child does get into difficulties,” she added.
Update: This event has been postponed until further notice.
This article appears in the October edition of The Voice Newspaper, purchase your copy here.