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					                              Executive Summary

This report compiles issues, suggestions and leading comments that were
recorded at the three very successful BrEAZ (Bristol Education Action Zone)
consultations with the Black Communities (Somali, Afrikan Caribbean and
South Asian) this year. These consultations identified the educational issues
that arose for the communities. (Each consultation also involved a second
collaborative meeting with the BrEAZ schools as well as the community
representatives). Each separate consultation with each community registers
different issues that arise for the particular community e.g. refugee status is
particular to the Somali communities. However, there are general themes that
can be identified that arise for all the communities.
These are:
     Considerable academic under-attainment for Black pupils
     A serious lack of Black role models/teachers and significant members
       of staff in schools who can raise awareness and integrate the
       communities’ issues
     Training opportunities for members of the communities to become
       more professional and involved in education in schools are still unclear
     Parents and community representatives do not have clearly
       established on-going links with the schools
     The curriculum is still too ethnocentric
     Pupils and parents are concerned about institutional racism in schools
     There is insufficient knowledge of the communities’ cultural and social
       issues and potential input for schools

However the report also identifies Good Practices that both schools and
communities are engaged in. These need to be sustained and developed. In
    Supplementary schools can have a very powerful affect upon
       attainment, motivation and achievement
    The School Race Equality Coordinators have established important
       initiatives in schools
    One or two schools have built in opportunities to liaise with the
    Some schools have drawn upon the skills and knowledge of community
       representatives when opportunities arise in the curriculum
    Work with the LEA in relation to recording racist incidents and tackling
       racism is becoming more established
    Parent Coordinators have made significant impact upon the
       home/school relationship

While these contributions are valuable it is clear that there is still a significant
absence of any coordinated strategy for the future. This limitation raises
particular concern, as the Education Action Zone will have diminished powers
and resources after March 2005. The material collated provides the
background information for the 16th November Conference with the LEA, local
schools and community groups.

                                Introductory note

The underlying belief behind consulting with the different community groups is that
cultural identity engenders confidence and pride. It emphasises the importance of the
communities’ contributions to the educational success of their children.

A crucial BrEAZ Race Equality strategy has been to facilitate the development of
community educational advisory groups. The Kaamyaabi South Asian educational
advisory group and the Aflah Black African educational advisory group are led by
members of the communities themselves. By contrast under-representation of
Afrikan Caribbean, Black UK and Dual Heritage male role models has been the focus
of support for these communities.

We have been fortunate to have Dr Richard Majors leading a Rites of passage
Empowerment Program for boys in years 10 and 11. This program includes training
Black men from the communities to become skilled facilitators. These initiatives have
been enhanced by School Race Equality Coordinators work, which has helped to
establish some links between the schools and communities.

However through our connection with Dr Richard Majors we are also fortunate to
become part of innovative and groundbreaking empirical research by Professor Janet
Helms (of Boston University, USA). Professor Helms has identified a strong
correlation between having a Positive black identity and academic achievement.
Professor Helms will be visiting Bristol later this month (on 25th November) to give a
talk at The City Academy. She will also set up a data collection process to document
the relationship between the various Black identities and educational attainment in
Bristol. This data will provide substantial evidence for the relationship between
identity and attainment.

                Positive concept of cultural identity

              Recognition of cultural identity embedded
              in school

                                                    Motivated Learning

Rise in commitment and attainment


Somali Consultation …………………………………………………3-8
Afrikan Caribbean Consultation ……………………………………9-15
South Asian Consultation ……………………….………………….16-21
Summary of findings from initial South Asian Consultation……..22-26

Please note: Each consultation is presented differently according to the way in which
the consultation was carried out. For instance the Afrikan Caribbean consultation
report records the comments that parents and community representatives made; by
contrast the Somali consultation report summarises the issues that arose but does
not record individual comments. These variations are also related to the different
presentations that were made on the separate occasions. For instance the Somali
consultation includes an overview of 2002 attainment figures that Ken Fyfe presented
that day.

                                 Somali Consultation
                                    January 2004
This conference was very well attended by both schools and Somali representatives
and elicited a range of suggestions to work with as well as concerns to address. Five
areas were identified from notes taken at the meeting.
These are:
        A) The issues for communities and parents,
        B) Racism and how to tackle it,
        C) Cultural differences,
        D) What already exists in schools, needs to be maintained, and also needs
            to be addressed (including statistics on under-attainment),
        E) Ways forward: establishing a strategy and commitments from all parties.

A) The issues for communities and parents
Characteristics of the communities and perspectives shared
The general features of the communities that community representatives identified
were: The Somali population in Bristol started arriving twelve years ago and is at
present about 8000 and all of them are Muslim. As a community that has high
transience, housing problems, high unemployment among fathers who would
normally be the bread winners and refugee issues to attend to they require
substantial support and there are serious gaps in the support. The high level of
transience and consequent high turn over in schools has serious effects upon the
schools ability to support pupils, for instance at Cabot primary there was an in intake
of 70 new arrivals but only 20 stayed. There are also isolated families and among
those several who have children that do not attend schools at all. Some of these
families have been housed outside the inner city areas and their negative
experiences are intensified. Also with particular reference to education there is no
educational centre for Somali issues and though Amana is very important, this
organisation is stretched and there is need for much more support to address the
academic situation. Parents, pupils and the community in general has high
expectations of attainment and is very disappointed with the academic results so far,
especially at the City Academy at GCSE level.

However an important feature of this community is its sense of collaboration and the
representatives at the previous Somali meeting said that they would like to have
more of an idea of how homes could get together to support their children. They
would like to know how to develop their homes together to share resources and

create a more educationally supportive environment for their children. They need
much more open dialogue with schools to achieve this.

There are several things that would assist their situation, some of these mentioned

    Outreach and information available from the LEA and community groups on
    support/initiatives available
   English speaking Somali parents, paid and utilised to communicate with other
    Somali parents
   Dual text libraries in schools
   Increasing the amount of Somali parents that can help their children by offering
    parents more opportunities to learn English and understand the educational
    system (last term it was a concern for both teachers and parents that some of the
    parents because of their lack of English, get their children to translate messages
    and feedback from the school, this meant that parents had/have little control over
    what is happening and rely too heavily on their children).
   It is necessary to build a central team within the school/educational field to pool
    resources, as there has only been fragmented provision, which has left the
    community to solve problems in a piecemeal way.
   There is a lot more work between parents and teachers to do.

B) Racism
Racism, whether overt or covert is having a profound effect on some Somali young
people and children, for instance some children don’t want to identify themselves as
Somali but try to identify themselves as Afrikan Caribbean instead because of the
stigma about being Somali.

The situation is intensified because there is not only cross-cultural misunderstanding
between the Somali students and teachers but the perception of Somalia and
refugee status is one that schools are not addressing in a proactive way. This lack of
attention to negative stereotyping that schools are not addressing has serious effects
upon the self-esteem of pupils, one participant asserted that they are ‘suffering in

Further more the lack of understanding by members of staff means that instance of
apparent misbehaviour can be seriously misunderstood. For instance, parents
claimed that in stances where the teacher may have responded harshly to a Somali
student who has hit another student it may in fact not be the Somali student’s fault
because the other student had hit him first or made a racist comment. Furthermore,
lack of English can create deep frustrations and confusions for Somali pupils, they
are aware of the hostility but unable to defend themselves verbally and therefore rely
upon reacting physically. This situation can make the young people and children feel
aggressive and impotent.

It was of considerable concern that teachers seemed to be relatively ignorant about
how to deal with issues of racial harassment. As the EAZ race equality co-ordinator it
is troubling to discover that some schools are still not identifying racist behaviour and
therefore there are no strategies to deal with very serious concern.

Tackling Racism

In fact all schools have to have procedures, policies and action plans to prevent and
tackle racism in its various manifestations. The following requirements are essential
to address the situation:

There has to be:
 The right environment for reporting instances of racism, pupils are not likely to
   report these instances unless they are absolutely sure of certain procedures
   being in place and people that they can rely upon to support them. If the situation
   is not fully understood and addressed than the situation only intensifies for pupils
   who have placed their trust in and reported the situation to an adult.
 Positive action to address the situations that may arise rather than reactive
   responses to a crisis.
 Confidence among pupils and staff to challenge racism and take action
 Whole school commitment, by ALL staff – training, awareness, professional
   understanding of ‘racism’ different levels, types and address the prevalent
   ignorance identified (as above).
 Human resources on site to translate and interpret cases of racial harassment
 Positive role models on site in the schools
 Race equality issues identified as integral into the curriculum e.g. skills
 Careful monitoring of admissions need to ensure that new comers receive the
   right support

C) Cultural differences
The Somali women’s group identified how in Somalia girls and boys have separate
classrooms and the situation in the UK schools can confuse young people and
parents when the rationale is not explained to them. They also felt that received more
respect and obedience from their children while they were in Somali but that here (in
the UK) it seems different, the parents fear that this lack of respect may be
something to do with their education here and the different expectations of behaviour
in schools. (However, it important to note that instances of strictness and severe
disciplining that can be found in Somalia and that makes some pupils fearful of their
teachers the families would not want to endorse). The group also identified how there
are different expectations of behaviour in the wider society, compared to Somalia that
create a culture clash for their young people. Parents would also like to understand
the English cultural expectations, values and beliefs better, language difficulties
make it especially hard for parents to understand what is expected and considered
acceptable in this society.

The Somali representatives felt that it was therefore essential for teachers to
understand the complexity of their situation and to avoid jumping to conclusions
about an event concerning their children in school.

They recommended more family visits and opportunities for teachers to meet with

D) What exists in schools already and needs to be maintained

The list below registers that the following have been very helpful so far:

          Having parent Co-ordinators and especially a Somali parent-Co-ordinator
           (funded by EAZ and Community @Heart).
          Appointments of Somali teachers and learning assistants.
          EMAS support is vital for: initial assessments, EAL issues and
          Support workers are really important in terms of translating newsletters
           into Somali and interpretation for parents.
          Additional language support – English teaching NRF (Neighbourhood
           Renewal Funding).
          Homework clubs and after school provision.
          Working with Supplementary schools (NRF).
          Achievement and incentives scheme CaH
          BHAT support – LEA
          ESOL for parents – but Govt changes in regulations for Asylum seekers
           may effect this provision.

Secondary School provision
The following list of practices in secondary schools is welcome and vital.
 Somali parents’ group at the City Academy and Fairfield High.
In particular at the city academy translated versions of reports and mentoring support
is appreciated. At Fairfield parent workshops on understanding school system and
once a month coffee mornings for parents for parents to share concerns is highly
recommended and helpful. Both the workshops and coffee mornings are well
 The support that BrEAZ (Bristol Education Action Zone) has given is much
    appreciated, the support of a learning mentor through the BLIP (Behaviour
    Learning Improvement Plan) and Race Equality Co-ordinator were mentioned as

Issues for schools and communities
However despite these initiatives there is still considerable support required to
address the situation. For instance just at the level of attainment the following
statistics were presented from 2002. It is noticeable that there has been little change
in 2003.

These statistics are in relation to the National average.
KS1 Reading
White UK                        +2.7%
Pakistani                       -19.1%
Black Caribbean (UK)            -21.8%
Indian                          -29.4%
Black African (including Somali)               -45.3%
Maths                           -28.7%

KS4 – GCSE’s
5 of more GCSE’s A-C

White UK                     -11.0%
Pakistani                    -29.3%
Black Caribbean              -25.0%
Indian                       - 11.4%
Black African (including Somali)              -45.9%

The parents and community representatives were very disturbed by these statistics
and questioned whether the teachers were being honest with them. They were
suspicious that the teachers protected them from the truth and told them about the
situation when it was much too late to do anything. They complained that did not
receive enough information and that it was essential to have interpreters and
translators to ensure that parents were aware and informed about the situation.
Parents commented that they often felt left out and wished to be much more involved
and that it was useless to have the children translating everything for them.

The schools identified their lack of money, the cost of recruiting

However it is clear that it is vital that schools build up greater knowledge and
understanding of individual families, increase their connections with the
supplementary school staff. (See Collaboration and Partnership report).

E) Ways forward: establishing a strategy and commitments from all parties.

   1) Whole school commitment

   ‘Whole school commitment’ required
   Central team, pooling resources Schools coming together co-ordinated –
   ACTION Person on register to pool knowledge
   Planning with child and parent – shared experience: more family visits
 Targeting and funding:
                          Admissions and induction
                          New arrives with no English
                          Children with some English can be tracked – underachieve
                             because they don’t have adequate language statistics
                          Parents needing support
                          Translation issues
                          High turn over – transient population – e.g. Cabot took 70
                             new arrivals in – kept 20
Cross cultural support between parents from different groups
   Tighter monitoring and use of EMAG grant in schools
   Somali support worker – made available to schools
   Somali volunteers but don’t know how to access schools
   In brief there is still considerable need for increased communication between
   Parents and teachers.

    2) Education of Somali parents

    Pay volunteers: Pay parents to come in to work/help and training for assistants
    that could help these assistants become more qualified. As well as the
    recognition of some of the qualifications they have already need to be
    acknowledged and further training that they might need to access. Volunteers
    should be paid Tower Hamlets – parents to become LSA’s, LSA’s to become
    teachers Volunteer – LSA – teaching

 set up a group to press for this
 Larger Somali parents groups a good idea
 Need way to communicate to all parents what provision is available
 Parent co-ordinators
 Need to know ability, literacy aswell Mainstreaming ? Time spent to co-ordinate
     material and access it (needs to be found by schools?)
 Need to know what parents want (specific things)
 Primary and national level
It is also vital to support the families more in general …
     Provision difficult for families to pull together because fragmented base

    3) Clear policy for an efficient and effective translation service
    Funding for EMAS support/translation/interpreting or alternatively developing a
    more effective branch within EMAS that supports supplementary school support
    more. languages in school for the young people and pupils Dual text

    Cultural awareness for school staff
    Identify the ‘REAL’ issues of underachievement in Somalia
    Cultural awareness for school staff
    Organise meetings (e.g. parents’ meetings not to clash with religious events)

    4) Curriculum developments
   Curriculum in wider sense
   Some schools integrated BUT materials on Somalia difficult, but parents and
    children are a resource
    Lack of literature because oral culture
    Curriculum = wider send = people as well e.g.

   5) Better resources and support for supplementary schools
   6) Amana well placed to co-ordinate, but needs to build capacity Issue of
      physical base No focus for the Somali communities (Amana could be a base)
?Neighbourhood Renewal fund – community development officer, co-ordinator
   Setting up after-school club (based on parent questionnaire) with C@H

    7) Gathering good practice (see JG)
   Funding good practice at different school and how to access the practice
   AMANA – co-ordination but not capacity in terms of funding rather than led by
    European need Somalis to lead

Notes: Developing the Black forums and educational advisory bodies
    The series of workshops to offset the forums
    The collaboration and networking of SRECs as a resource
    The need for schools to get together as a group and assist the development
       of clear guidelines so that the Somali families can develop their homes to
       become learning centres.
    Resources that already exist e.g. Somali homework clubs, Amana etc
    Professional development plans

               Key points from the Afrikan Caribbean Consultation
                                   June 2004

This summary collates a range of comments that parents and community
representatives raise. This summary has not been thoroughly completed but should
offer some useful pointers to consider for Tuesday.

Right at the beginning of the session concern about exclusions arose.
Parents and community representatives voiced high expectations of their children
and fears that their children may not achieve what they needed to do well in society.
Parents wanted their children to be: “ confident, aware, [so that they] can walk into
any job and get it on the merit of their ability…to get a good education.”

The following key areas of concern were raised:
 Attitudes to Black parents
 Attitudes of teachers toward Afrikan Caribbean children
 Concern about a colour-blind approach and institutional racism
 Insufficient knowledge/images about Afrikan Caribbean heritage and culture
 Cross –cultural differences in relation to behaviour (between school ethos and
   some parents)
 A crucial need for more Black models in schools

Attitudes to Black parents

The quotes below indicate the ways in which parents felt they could be
misunderstood and were under –pressure.

“There’s also the perception of a parent that is at odds with what the school has –
something is missing…”

“I feel isolated as a Black parent…they [members of staff] can bar the way …”
This comment was made with reference to being concerned about what a child may
be experiencing at school. “It s not the same – what they are telling you and what is
actually going on…I’ve been told to wait outside and then I’ve gone back the next day
and gone in but I don’t feel welcome.” This parent stated that it could be disturbing
not to be able to know what was going on: “If you feel apprehensive about leaving
your child – how are you going to cope with the day?”

“In terms of being – feeling my voice is heard. If I have a comment or issue I should
feel able to say that without it being jumped upon and having to defend myself. If you
suggest something needs to be done – you don’t get to the end of it – you could start
off being positive and end up negative.”

“This a problem for Black parents – as a Black parent you feel you have make
yourself more respectable.”

“You have to stand your ground and be assertive and then they fear you – the
secretary is frightened of you – especially if you are a male.”

“When anything has happened – I’ve sent messages and they don’t respond– they
only respond when I make a nuisance of myself.”

“You go into meetings and it feels condescending – this is how people are
experiencing the situation.”

Parents lack of choice
“I’m not a parent but working in education – just from talking to other parents – I think
parents need to have choice as well. Parents can be asked to go into a meeting but
they don’t have a choice of when – they are just told to come in.”

“Children need to choose wisely and parents need to have some choices.”

“Also it is important for the school to value parents – they often only want to know
parents when something goes wrong. They need to share information more. Parents
have that value in nursery and at KS1 but then it gets lost as the children get older.”

“We only get phone calls when things go badly.”

Parents concern about their lack of knowledge of school system
“There is a gap between the systems – the parents don’t know what is going on in
the schools and the children know how to beat the system.”

“We do want to be involved – we want the opportunity to get back to the school ( not
just receive a letter or message) we need to be able to get back to understand what
is going wrong.”

Teachers attitudes to Afrikan Caribbean children
“Mind set of teachers – not able or willing – not looking at diversity…it how you offer
support and where you do it.”

“My child was slipping and I wasn’t informed in time.”

“There needs to be an on- going action plan. There are really intelligent children but
then they don’t achieve. We want to help but we don’t know what to do as a aren’t.
The teachers just say that they are being very supportive but they need to be more
specific about what they are being supportive about. There is anger management
support BUT there is a need for action plan to support. My child doesn’t believe he
is intelligent now.”

Heads powerful position/influence

Concern about a colour blind approach and institutional racism
“They say they don’t see colour – they don’t want to see colour - but you can’t say
that - I want them to see my child.”

“It’ a scientific fact that colour is what you see…if they say that they are not seeing
my child…a teacher will say I treat all children the same – but all children are
different – they all have3 different special needs.

“The school my children went to is racist. I have started studying at university and my
children no longer have to have free school meals and the secretary said “well done”
to me.”

“Our children feel put upon”

Heritage and images of culture still not sufficient
I also want them to have positive images of their culture.”

“No – I left education 20 years ago and there wasn’t choice then and its not changed
now. History was all about the history of the wars of the roses and there seemed to
be nothing more to our history than slavery.”

“There has been not change – there is still nothing about Black history – the teachers
said they were willing but that they didn’t know anybody”.

This comment was taken to mean that the teachers were not willing – in reality – as
there were several people they could have turned to.

Someone mentioned the importance of the brown eyes/blue eyes video and the
importance of getting across differences.

“ Schools are given a fair chunk of money to do this but they are not doing it…
I know there are resources …we are resources too as parents. Sometimes it is not
about money …”

“Parents are willing to share their knowledge.”

Cross –cultural differences in relation to behaviour (between school ethos and
some parents)
A central concern was that teachers may have too low expectations of Afrikan
Caribbean children’s behaviour.

“… Teachers are told that there will behaviour problems and then their expectations
get lower and then they see it as a norm – while we think its out of order – what they
expect from our children.”

A possible difference between White and Black expectations was also raised.
“It’s very much about the ethos of the school. For me it’s about expectations. White
parents can have lower expectations and we can have higher expectations…my
daughter can achieve better than she does with her teacher.”

“There is a problem of discipline – teachers (at secondary) can be all very joky with
kids and allow the kids to behave badly because they have low expectations of
behaviour from our kids.”

“Teachers sometimes accept bad behaviour because they are trying to make the kids
feel at home and so that the student can feel more relaxed – sometimes it does
happen too much though.”

“ There is too much inconsistency in terms of what happens.”

They could send a weekly report of assessment of that child – if there’s something
that goes wrong…not let the child go free.”

Some parents also feared that this lack of consensus or rigour in terms of behaviour
was then something they had to tackle at home.

“Sometimes as a parent I feel I’m taking it (the bad behaviour accepted at school).
My child apologies when s/he slams the door but at school they do it and just swear.
Also my child is six now but when she was 5 he was told he couldn’t read by his
teacher but she could read and I was also told that my child doesn’t speak because
she’s shy – but there didn’t seem to be anything they were doing about it.”

In the context of issues that arise for parents in the local community, there was
concern that unless there was some clarifications about values and beliefs Afrikan
Caribbean children could be drawn to getting involved with drug dealing. Parents
were also aware that there may well be different ideas of what is positive between
generations: “What is positive to a young person may not be the same as what is
positive to parents.” Therefore a clear understanding of “Morals and discipline.” Was
identified as essential but also that: “Its not just about success through material
things.” People were aware that “ …if you look at a drug dealer – they are very
disciplined at running a business – making money - and you cross them at your
peril.” So parents suggested that: “Someone who encourages them – to believe that
if they make an effort and work hard enough they can get there because there are
other means of being successful.”

Parents also agreed that: “Art and sports are not enough – the implication is that they
are not good at other things.”

A crucial need for more Black models in schools
“We also need more positive Black role models in schools”.

                                  Ways forward
Parents and community representatives felt that schools having greater involvement
with parents, more role models and understanding of Black cultures would make a
considerable difference.

“The [schools] could offer the parents more of a role – I’ve offered my services to the
schools but been told that they’ll get back.”

“ So there ‘s a need for the school to take up offers when offered.”

“Its [also] important to help schools think about where they can find help.”

It was noted that: “Some of the best people may be in the social services – you can
also get people from London to do things on sport and dancing. It is important to get
people of quality from the community. You could always get someone from the
council who can get a secondment – so that they’re already working for the council
and on the payrole system.”

Parents stated clearly that they:
“We do want to be involved – we want the opportunity to get back to the school [not
just receive a letter or message because] we need to be able to get back to
understand what is going wrong.”

Parents and community representatives considered that:
“Having someone come in once a month to teach the children about Afrikan
Caribbean heritage.” Would be a very positive way forward.

“The children need positive role models – someone they can aspire to. There could
be someone in the community, someone who has accomplished something, has
something to show in life.”

“Primary schools should introduce the Afrikan culture because parents request this –
there are a lot of parents who live in the communities who can offer an idea and
could go into school to talk about what they do – to talk about how they are positive
role models”

It was also important to introduce positive role models for ways of leading a
successful home life, one parent noted:

“As a single mum I feel I am a positive role model – because I feel I am doing
something worthwhile…”

Tackling behaviour
In response to what might be an incentive for a child to do well parents volunteered:

“ A compliment – a phone call to say he’s done really well – positive calls to home
and not just negative ones.”

“Acknowledgement at assemblies – a badge or merit.”

Greater parental awareness
Parents also wanted to be better informed:
“As parents we need to learn more about school the race relations act 2000 says that
the schools have a legal obligation – we need to get ourselves better equipped.”

Then we can question the situation better. If we don’t we don’t get the opportunity
To ask and we need to spread the word and attend parents meetings. Schools have
an issue with Black parents not turning up. It should be someone’s role to inform us
about our children. As parents we can offer a role and say specifically what we can
do – we have a right to be in the classroom.

“Someone coming in once a month to teach the children about Black history. All the
children (Black and White) should have to learn about Black history.”

D: Then we can question the situation better. If we don’t we don’t get the opportunity
To ask and we need to spread the word and attend parents meetings. Schools have
an issue with Black parents not turning up. It should be someone’s role to inform us
about our children. As parents we can offer a role and say specifically what we can
do – we have a right to be in the classroom.

 “The school my children went to is racist. I have started studying at university and
my children no longer have to have free school meals and the secretary said “well
done” to me.”

Key points:

Slavery is not the only history and cultural identity is not just about food and sport

Expectations of behaviour of Afrikan Caribbean pupils in school are low

More Black role models are essential

Parents feel isolated

     Statistics for attainment for Black Caribbean and Black UK boys 2003
                 Highlighting the concern for this cultural group

The table below compares national attainment (for all groups) and BrEAZ
attainment 2003 for Black Caribbean and Black UK boys collected over 23
schools in the inner city of Bristol.

We have compared ethnic groups against the percentage achieved overall nationally
for each key stage. For example: where 82% of the ethnic groups achieved the
target level in KS1, only 54% of Black Caribbean boys in the zone achieved this
level. Their performance was 28 percentage points below the performance for all
groups nationally. We have represented this as –28. This model has been followed in
relation to all other data in the table below. Note: achievement decreases in maths
and English over the Key stages and that none of the 8 Black UK boys achieved

        KS1             Reading                   Writing              Maths
Level 2 +               No     Eng       Br       Eng     BrEAZ        Eng            BrEAZ
                        Br     All       EAZ      All     Diff         All            Diff
                        EAZ              Diff
Black Caribbean         26     85%       - 31.2   82 %      - 28.2     89%            - 8.2
Black UK                16     85%       -22.5    82 %      -19.5      89%            - 14
   KS2 Level 4+         English                   Science              Maths
A/C                     28     75%       - 39.3   87%       - 19.1     73%            - 23
Black UK                7      75%       - 32.1   87%       - 15.6     73%            - 30.1

   KS3 Level 5+         English                   Science              Maths
Black Caribbean         15     68%       - 48     68%     - 28         70%            - 43.3
Black UK                7      68%       - 53.7   68%     - 10.9       70%            - 41.4

    GCSEs A-C           No    BrEAZ      Diff BrEAZ/Nat 52.6%          EAZ %
Black Caribbean         13               -29.5 %                       23.1
Black UK                8                -52.6 %                       0
    GCSEs A-G           No    BrEAZ      Diff BrEAZ/Nat 88.6%          EAZ %
Black Caribbean         13               -4                            84.6
Black UK                8                -88.6                         0

These statistics do not include the attainment for girls. However, these are also a
matter of concern.

                            South Asian Consultation
                                    October 2004
    The material gathered at a previous consultation with South Asian communities
    provided the background reading for the consultation in October and it has been
                       included at the end of this consultation.

This October consultation was not well attended by schools, although there was high
nursery school attendance compared to primary and secondary school attendance.
However many community representatives did attend which indicates a strong
commitment on the part of the communities.

                            Key issues to be addressed
Several issues arose for these communities, and in particular these were:

   Under attainment levels within Ethnic Minority groups – especially Bangladeshi
    and Pakistani (see summary sheet at the end of this account, p.20)
   There is still considerable misunderstanding around holidays in South Asia
    and a need to discuss constructive ways to respect these holidays.
   Teacher training: should include much cultural and religious knowledge of Islam
    and Sikhism. There should be much greater knowledge of people’s lifestyles and
    habits. There is still low teacher knowledge of native languages/cultures. There is
    concern that teachers who discuss religion in the classroom invariably
    misunderstand some of the important cultural and religious beliefs. It was felt that
    it is not good enough to ask pupils to talk about own religions because they are
    easily embarrassed in this situation and some were also distressed about the
    Quran being unwittingly abused. Pupils in general do need to be alerted to the
    world outside the classroom and therefore it is essential that this matter is
    addressed with sensitivity and knowledge.
   Teaching Asian languages still has to be justified as there is still much greater
    respect and credentials attributed to French and German, languages that are
    almost irrelevant to South Asian communities. English as a second language
    should receive more consistent support throughout school life – even if pupils
    possess knowledge of English language, there will be inevitable gaps (they may
    need support with writing/reading appropriate material)
   It is essential to make PTAs more friendly and welcoming for parents
   Lack of South Asian role models

There were also other issues that related to concerns for all the communities
    Senior Management Teams in schools are still not sufficiently involved in
       leading on race equality issues
    Big changes are still required to ensure greater INCLUSION and
    Curriculum needs to be seriously reviewed to ensure the relevance of its
       content. It is essential that the curriculum engender motivation in learning,
       increasing pupil pride in their identity/background.
    At present there is concern that Minority Ethnic teachers are given too
       much responsibility because of their connection with the communities and at
       the same time they do not receive any extra support.

                          Issues around under attainment
Possible reasons:
- Lack of role models
- Children not motivated at home or in school
Lack of value for education in homes e.g. emphasis on running the family business…

Cultural Issues - restrictions at home
- Due to restrictions at home children can sometimes use school as a time to
- Need to respect a balance of cultures “traditional home life and western school

Lack of communication between teachers and pupils
- Due to stereotypes/labels and attitudes towards children
- Teachers’ uncertainty about practices and customs and therefore lack of clarity
   around how to direct the children

Under attainment was understood to be exacerbated by the following

-   Lack of parental involvement in most schools
-   No opportunities for parents to participate with their children’s education – told
    ‘this is the curriculum’ – no input is desired/encouraged from the parents
-   Despite linguistic understanding, subject understanding can also be lacking
-   Parents unaware of pupils’ timetable
-   Lack of role models – ill motivated in/outside the classroom. Disregard of
    education in light of family business provision
-   Cultural restriction at home – school + freedom, social life, therefore much less
    focus on education
-   Need to balance home and school life
-   Lack of communication between teachers and pupils
-   SEN pupils even more deprived in learning

-The need to make PTAs more friendly and welcoming for parents it is important to
make the most of parents who are confident about the school and can liaise with
other parents and arrange group meetings if necessary.
- Communication level in Nurseries is good between school and parents. But as
   curriculum followed more rigidly interaction breaks down

Senior Management’s role

-   Senior management needs to acknowledge issues relating to multi racial society
    much more e.g. releasing teachers for work in this area. Schools need to spend
    quality time keeping these channels open
-   It is important to confronting senior management with data regardless of
    curricular stipulations. There is usually potential room for variation within set
    curriculum, in order to ensure curriculum is relevant to all pupils – promoting
    motivated learning

Feedback from the various institutions and groups present

The Bangladeshi women’s group at Bangladesh House had organised a discussion
evening in advance of this consultation to identify the key concerns for their parents.
This is what they discovered they still required:
- More bilingual tutors
- Religious festivals and events need to be better understood e.g. fasting
   disregarded for sports lessons
-   Some schools still do not provide Halal food and a prayer room for Muslim pupils
- It is important to bring in the native Bangladesh culture into schools

Nirmal Kaur: a Sikh parent identified the following issues for her particular
 - As Sikhs are minorities within minorities statistics do not represent accurately all
    problems that arise for them
 - Lots of parents do not speak English and need support. The language barrier
    automatically excludes parents from being involved in the education of their
    children at school.
 - There is some criticism of Race Equality in schools because it still excludes and
    neglects input about Sikhism and the Sikh religious festivals.
 - Teachers are not given curriculum time to consider/discuss the range of religious
    and cultural knowledge they need to have to represent their pupils’

                              Good Practice identified

The City Academy has achieved remarkable improvements in its GCSE results as a
consequence of collaborating with supplementary school provision, especially
Somali/ Pakistani and Bangladeshi/ Muslim supplementary support.

Norbert Stricker from The Limes Nursery identified the following GP at his school
- Parents with native languages – strong attention to induction of ethnic minority
   families – learning diaries (Early Years’ Curriculum)
- Pupils plan with parents how they want their learning to develop – Parent
- Recall/review time group discussion re learning experience
- Parents’ EAL well supported – encouraged to work in native language
- Encourages balanced exchanges between English and Native languages
- Highlighting difficulties – discussing these

Nusrat Mohammed from Springwoods Nursery identified the following GP at her
- Arabic names on drawers – respect for native roots
- Somali support worker 4 days a week
- Asian support worker 2 days a week – Parents more trusting/comfortable
- Inviting parents to work on 6 curriculum area, misunderstand concept that
   Children learn best through play – so they need to be introduced to this idea and
   come to understand it experientially
- All these initiatives in Nurseries but deteriorate considerably through key stages

Celia Bradshaw from Cashmore Nursery identified the following GP at her school
- Black History Week – approaching parents to read stories
- Family learning

Parents feel excluded from their children’s secondary education – need negotiation
and liaison with senior management – support – confidence/resourcefulness –

May Park have been arranging visits to mosques, etc

EAL Project

Schools existing outside the Zone also deserve attention/help/support –
consideration of these schools would subsequently provide a wider more accurate

spectrum about Minority Ethnic communities, their welfare, relationship with
mainstream schooling, academic progress etc

                           Suggestions for ways forward

Recognition of Festivals /Holidays
Issues arising from extended holidays
- Making this a positive and developmental experience
- Giving pupils holiday tasks – a project to be presented on their return
- Need for compromise between parents and schools as to how much time children
    spend in native country – not 6 months, but then more than 10 days
- Families must understand that this trip needs to be moderated in order to
    heighten child’s chances to gain most form experience. Families must also
    understand that on return a lot of children will have fallen behind
- Other children could perhaps give children who are going away a list of questions
    regarding their country of destination –whole class/community involvement. The
    visit could be made into a positive experience, considering things to find out e.g.
    use of a disposable camera
- Visits could be essential to the curriculum but we need somebody with knowledge
    to disseminate and orchestrate a program to make this information relevant to the
- There have been recent links with Caribbean/other native country schools
    through emails/letters/exchanges. South Asian parents and children want to know
    why South Asia has been excluded as another potential place for exchanges.

Issues arising from a lack of cultural knowledge: The curriculum needs to be relevant
to a multi-ethnic society

-   There is a need for more strategic structuring of the curriculum
-   Teacher training –PGCE provision to engender awareness from the start and to
    prevent Race Equality becoming optional/afterthought
-   Possibility of combining religion and literacy
-   Cultural awareness w/shops (arranged in Somerset) for teacher training –
    Islam/Sikhism/Buddhism. Cultural awareness should be implicit/incorporated
    within teacher’s time rather than always supplementary – otherwise excessive
    hours/pressure for teachers – makes them reluctant to participate
-   More cultural activity during and after school (Bollywood Dance etc)
-   Citizenship – PSHE could encompass cultural awareness issues
-   Drama around different backgrounds/cultures/religions would enhance the
-   Need to balance home and school life – perhaps schools could incorporate this
    pupils’ social requirements within school life – lunchtime club etc. – in order to
    avoid interference of curriculum time

Teacher training programme
Understanding communities and racism awareness should be a compulsory section
of the course. To do this effectively it is important to provide speakers from Ethnic
Minority groups. The key question people wanted addressed was: “What percentage
of teacher training course is devoted to racial awareness and understanding of Ethnic

Suggestions for the teachers training dimension were as follows:

1) Racism awareness course
2) Questionnaire on what they know about multi cultural society

3) Assignment on e.g. Bangladeshi community
4) Inviting speakers from different community groups which reflect our society
5) Trainee teachers should be advised to go physically out into the community in
   order to gain hands on awareness and understanding they should be encouraged
   to attend cultural and community events.

Issues around parents
 Lack of parental involvement in certain (majority of) schools and parents are often
 unaware of child’s school time table and therefore aren’t given the option to support
 their child or participate.

Ways of inviting parents in: to watch assemblies, open morning/days, parents
evenings – translations. Including parents in the after school support and homework
clubs. Setting up specific support groups to encourage partnership between home
and school

Increasing role models
There is a considerable lack of South Asian teachers in mainstream schools and also
a lack of general South Asian staff within education system as a whole. There is also
a need for South Asian Co-ordinators as well as teachers the following suggestions
were made:
 Carrying out sessions for children to share with people from their own and other
    backgrounds i.e. youth liaison service
 Bring in more cultural activities during school e.g. Bollywood Dancing
 Bring in young undergraduates and graduates to address young people in a
    assembly and one-2-ones
 Bring in community leaders and activists to hold talk
 Having mentors from Yr 9 onwards
 Encouraging more cultural drama e.g. ‘Christmas around the world’

        Statistical Analysis of results in the EAZ schools for 2002 –2003
                South Asian groups consistently underachieving

In general all Black groups in Bristol EAZ schools are seriously underachieving
compared to the National average. However the details below register considerable
alarm. Please also note that Bangladeshi pupils are often too small in number for the
statistics to accurate represent what is happening for them.

At KS2 in English Pakistani boys have underachieved by - 41.7% compared to the
National average. This is a decline in attainment between 2000 and 2003 of
– 8.8.

At KS2 in maths Pakistani boys are underachieving at –39.7 compared to the
National average. This is a decline in attainment between 2000- 2003 of 30.4%

At KS2 in science Pakistani girls are underachieving at – 74.5 % compared to the
National average and there has been a severe decline in attainment of – 30.4%
between 2000 and 2003.

At KS3 in maths ALL Black groups seriously underachieved (-37 to - 31%
compared to the National average). In particular Indian girls were –57.5%
underachieving compared to the National average and Pakistani boys were
underachieving at – 20% compared to the National average.

At KS3 in science all Black pupils were achieving from –15.5 to –52% compared to
the National average. There was however an improvement compared to the 2000

At KS4, GCSE A-C grades for Pakistani boys’ were of considerable concern.

 Summary of findings from initial South Asian Consultation with South Asian
                 parents, pupils and community members

 (Taken from the report compiled by Dhek Bhal and BCESG. These findings became
the background reading for the October consultation).

These findings are a summary of the combined the responses from all the
workshops, a fuller record of these workshops is included in the appendix. However it
is important to note that the attendance at this event was exceptional: in total the
amount of parents/carers, young people and children attending came to ninety four
(94), fourteen workshop leaders, ten workers (who helped with the catering and
general organisation) and one main speaker. Furthermore there was a good
representation from each cultural group.

Although there were a series of questions and formats that workshop leaders had
designed, parents themselves prompted certain themes and responded more to
certain themes. The transcripts in appendix 1 offer a more comprehensive insight into
the sort of comments and feelings parents/ carers and young people expressed. This
summary should be read in the context of these transcripts and records.

Key areas that were raised and discussed in general:
1) Thoughts and feelings about being a parent and about the importance of
2) The National Curriculum
3) Teachers
4) School support, including variations among school
5) Parents’ experiences, the perception of South Asian parents; the need for
supplementary support especially in relation to homework and difficulties that arise
for ESL
6) Experiences of racism/ institutional racism.

It is important to note that in general both middle class and working class parents
South Asian parents, from different cultural and religious backgrounds voiced a
considerable lack of confidence about the educational system addressing their
issues: they said that they had voiced concerns before but they not been addressed
or even registered by schools. These parents also registered high expectations of
their young people but a lack of faith in the Local Educational Authority (LEA). One
comment in particular reflected this:

“ My experience tells me that schools see our response as rather insignificant and
irrelevant and sometimes irritating when they are challenged.”

It is therefore essential for the LEA and schools to address the concerns raised

1) Thoughts and feelings about being a parent and about the importance of

Despite fears that their concerns may not be taken seriously, both the attendance at
the consultation session, commitment to the workshops and comments that parents
and young people gave, indicated that they felt educational was very important. For
example in relation to her priorities for her children, one parent stated the she would
want them to have:

“ A good education, to be involved in school activities and to be well behaved with
other children and adults.”

This focus on behaviour as well as academic performance was also generally voiced.
Also parents wanted to be able to help their child with school work and felt it was
their duty: For instance a comment made was:

“ I think my role is to help my child to go to school every day and on time, to make
sure the homework is done. I think I should be aware of all school involvements.”

2) Comments on the National Curriculum and curriculum in general:
In general parents and carers felt that:
-       That there is a need for more religious and cultural input.
That visits abroad to relatives and countries of origin fill gaps in religious and cultural
knowledge and that these occasions offer important cultural experiences and insight
into geography and history for the young people/children as well as positive identities
in terms of affinities with cultures and religions.

Parents suggested that these visits could be used more constructively in schools so
that the young people and children provided feedback and went out to discover and
record their experiences.

Parents also felt that there is a need for more Islamic classes in school and that
there is a need for greater input on famous South Asian people who are both role
models for young people (see appendix for the list of role models that the young
people themselves identified) and also give them a confidence and pride in their
identity. An example of the type of comment made to reflect this was:

“ I think the school is not educating young children about cultural and religious


“Although technology makes role models more available there could be more about
Indian and Bangladeshi role models or famous people like Mahatma Ghandi. In
general there are only American and English role models so the curriculum needs to
be adapted to include these other people.”

3) Comments on teachers:
In general parents felt that most teachers lack knowledge of the cultural, beliefs and
practices of the communities as well as general knowledge of their experiences. For
instance typical comments made were:

“ When teachers get jobs in schools they should be informed of different cultures and


“ At times the school may discriminate against black children, stereotyping them,
hence teachers should be encouraged to attend more cultural awareness training,
since England is now a multi-cultural society.”

As a consequence of these limitations parents/carers felt that:

Teachers can tend to stereotype parents about how they think parents deal with
learning and their children’s education. They felt that teachers needed to have more
of an inside knowledge of what actually happens.

And young people felt that teachers were in general unsupportive of the particular
needs of South Asian children/young people. The comment below made by one
young person captures the sense of inferiority that some young people faced in
relationship with teachers:

“Some teachers look down at Asian children.”

Therefore parents/carers felt that it would be worthwhile for teachers to have the
motivation and opportunity to visit local communities to establish communication and
understand the needs of the children/young people better. However, parents and
community members felt that they should take some responsibility for this. For
example one participant suggested that:

“Asian communities should invite tutors to their cultural events.”

However, in general parents and community members felt that there is a pressing
need to recruit more South Asian teachers. For instance one parent explained why
this was necessary:

“I think the schools should have Asian teachers for role models, for young children
can learn from and look up to and respect.”

 4) Issues raised in relation to school support:
Parents, community members and young people had several points to make on what
they required to feel their needs were being met, as listed below:

There is a need for more parent co-ordinators
There is a need for school counsellors, in the same way that exists in colleges.
It would be useful to have more translation of policies and curriculum documents and
requirements and newsletters. Parents want to help more but are seriously
disadvantaged if they don’t have this particular support. One parent/teacher usefully
suggested making tapes (interpretations) of these materials and documents.
There is a need for much greater monitoring of what South Asian pupils achieve and
where they need support.
There is a need for a prayer room in schools and if this is not possible at certain
times in the calendar e.g. at Ramadan some place should be available to support
these children’s particular situation. Greater respect and awareness of religious
practices would assist this situation.

Parents and carers also made more general comments as listed below:
-      That there is quite a variation in terms what support different schools offer in
       particular those schools outside the inner city are often less aware and
-      That schools should appreciate cultural diversity more in terms of practices
       and habits, the importance Halal meat for Muslims and vegetarian food for
       Sikhs means that if these considerations are not made then certain children
       hardly eat any food at school at all and are seriously disadvantaged.
- That P.E. often creates a problem for the young women who are expected to
   wear clothes that are incompatible with their religious beliefs or not to wear
   clothes when they need to cover themselves. There needs to be more respect for
   this issue.

5) Parents’ experiences, thoughts and feelings about being a parent in the school
Parents considered that it was crucial that there was extra support for both their
children and themselves. As the responses to the questionnaire emphasis (see
summary of the questionnaire at the end of this section) parents and community
members felt that parents often lack confidence in the school situation.

Parents often expressed the lack knowledge of the school system, which is one
crucial reason why they felt that the young people require extra support. The
comments below register this concern:

 “If the Asian child does not do his/her homework because their parents are unable to
help her/him those children’s classroom tutor should assist them with their

“ I feel our children are not achieving in schools because all the learning they do is
only in school, we are not able to support them at home.”

“ I regret that I can’t help my child with her homework because I do not speak or write

“We feel it is very important to get involved in our child’s education and daily life but
are unable to do so because of the language barrier.”

Parents are often seriously disadvantaged at PTAs because of the language barrier
and also because of their send of isolation, lack of confidence and knowledge.
Comments made:

“PTAs seem to be a lip service to me and dominated by white parents.”

“Every time I attend my child’s parents’ evening I feel as if I am going for an


In general parents expressed a sense of alienation and lack of support within the
school system reinforcing the concerns that have been already raised in the
background literature. However parents helpfully clarified what changes would make
them feel more comfortable. For instance on parent said that:

“When I walk into school I would like to feel the same as other mothers. I know I don’t

speak English but I would like tutors to speak to me, that way I don’t feel left out.”

Parents and carers in general registered a need to develop a support group to
discuss and tackle the issues raised above and to feel more confident to liaise with
the school system and lobby. One parent stated:

“We need to have a voice in the school of our children and this is only possible
through collectively coming together.”

Parent also would like to understand issues that relate to living in a cross-cultural
situation: Comments made:

“We [and in particular our young people] require support from someone who they feel

they can discuss freely issues related to drugs, bullying and arranged marriages.”

Parent also felt that it would be useful if there were more links between the schools
and their communities. For example one parent’s comment was:

“ I think the school should be more involved with parents, to find out what things are

happening within the community.”

However as already noted in the section on teachers the community members and
parents did feel they could help enhance the situation by inviting teachers to their
cultural events outside the school.

6) Concern about racism and bullying:
Disturbingly several of the young people voiced concerns about bullying and racism.
The young people were particularly concerned about institutional racism and made
the following comments:

“There are some teachers – I don’t think they’re racist – there’s quite a few teachers
who focus on our behaviour rather than the English girls.”(Comment by young girl
who attends private school).

“There’s this boy in my class and he’s black and he, well sometimes, we got racists
and he protects all the Asians in our school and he has a fight with them….”

“Actually a couple of people have come up to me and said that they’ve noticed how
the teachers are treating me, but I think the schools are institutionally racist – they
don’t actually notice it.”

Parents were also aware of this area of concern and commented that:

“ We need to know how to cope with bullying, children complain about the
experience of being bullied, parents take the matter up but no action is taken”.

“I do think there is little equal opportunity in schools.”

6b) Institutional racism
As noted above parents/carers and young people felt their cultures and religions
were not understood or properly respected in schools and also experienced racism.
However, a more indirect form of racism was also identified. For instance one parent
noted that:

“PTAs seem to be a lip service to me and dominated by white parents. Working class
and Black children’s needs are irrelevant, less important at extreme an irritation.”

These various responses indicate that there are several concerns to be addressed
and also that there is the interest and involvement among both parents and young
people for the schools to work with.


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