The independent London newspaper

Black Kids Matter

26 June, 2020

Zoom meeting: ‘Black Kids Matter: How our schools fail black children’, Tuesday June 30 from 6pm

• AS a trade union representative at New River College Secondary Pupil Referral Unit, I welcome your report on Islington exclusion figures, which highlights the injustice of the perverse incentives that league tables and the focus on exam performance offer to mainstream schools in terms of exclusion and reintegration, (Pupils sent to referral units ‘are left in limbo’, June 12).

The National Education Union, locally and nationally, has strong policy on “No More Exclusions”, calling for more funding for schools to adequately address the needs of all children; the abolition of league tables; the promotion of approaches to behaviour management that are humane and respect the rights of the child; and the overhaul of exclusion practice.

An important part of the exclusions picture is left out of the article though. Exclusions disproportionately affect black young people, with special educational needs, on free school meals, compounding the injustice.

A black boy with SEN on FSMs is 160 times more likely to be excluded than his peers. The increasing number of African Caribbean and other minority groups being excluded reflect both a historic injustice and evidence of institutionalised racism.

Related to this, Islington NEU is organising a community Zoom meeting on the theme of “Black Kids Matter: How our schools fail black children” on Tuesday June 30, 6pm to 7.30pm, with speakers on the theme of racism in education, exclusions, and decolonising the curriculum (meeting ID: 99643836216, password: 238170.

More info available from I hope that as many parents/carers, young people and school staff as possible can join us for this necessary conversation.

NEU rep
New River College


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