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Black students need dedicated schooling program, says Gavin Williamson

Credits: PA

The education secretary has been urged that a national education program for Black kids should be launched as soon as feasible.

Diane Abbott and Lord Simon Woolley, chair and vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Race Equality in Education, have written to Gavin Williamson to request a meeting to debate the plan, according to a letter seen by The Independent.

This is in response to previous letter, which was sent on August 2nd and went ignored.

The effort would be focused toward reducing exclusions and drop-out rates, as well as improving pupils' "pathways to employment" among Black pupils, similar to the £1 million education program established this year for Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller children, which the APPG has applauded.

The letter, which was delivered on Monday, states, “Like you, we think that education is the key to leveling up the nation.”

“As you correctly stated, increasing a community's talent base increases what it can do. We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss these principles in greater depth, as well as to see if we can offer any practical support.

“For instance, by assisting in the implementation of a program that gives additional support to children and students of color.”

Ms Abbott wrote in an article earlier this month, "The government should embrace the UN International Decade for People of African Descent and harness the unprecedented opportunity to address educational injustice, while appreciating the gains to the entire education family of a more racially inclusive system."

The Hackney MP continued, "This must begin with a national education plan for our Black African and Caribbean children."

Ms Abbott submitted a written question to the Department of Education in May, asking if the department plans to take specific steps to support the educational experiences and outcomes of Caribbean heritage students, “other than the measures that your Department is taking to support disadvantaged pupils in general.”

The Department answered that it "does not create education policy to exclusively target certain groups of pupils based on ethnicity," however the Equality Act 2010 recognizes Gypsy and some Traveller ethnicities as ethnic groups protected from discrimination.

Campaigners and the APPG are now calling for a uniform strategy across the board.

According to new research, A-level success inequalities for Black students, those receiving free school meals, and those living in high-poverty areas have “significantly” worsened in the last year.

Similarly, the achievement gap between Black and white students has worsened in this year's GCSE results.

According to the Social Metrics Commission's most recent annual report, nearly half of Black African Caribbean households are poor, and Black ethnic groups as a whole have a larger percentage of children in low-income households (30%) than the national average (15 per cent.)

In some local authorities, fixed-term exclusion rates for Black Caribbean students are more than six times higher than for white British students, while Black Caribbean students have the lowest average GCSE Attainment 8 scores, the highest proportion of children eligible for free school meals alongside mixed white students, and are frequently the least likely group to attend university.


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