Posted on September 13, 2004

School System ‘Is Failing Black Boys’

Sarah Cassidy, Independent (UK), Sep. 12

Ofsted, the school inspectorate, has started to judge schools as failing because their teachers are not promoting racial equality, the head of Britain’s anti-racist watchdog claimed yesterday.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, told a London conference on the under-achievement of black children that new anti-racist guidelines developed by the CRE and Ofsted had exposed several schools which were not doing enough to tackle inequality.

He was joined on the platform by the former black soccer star turned TV presenter Garth Crooks, who condemned “gangsta” culture for promoting an “epidemic” of black-on-black violence.

“To youngsters in our community who think they are gangsters and want to contaminate our youngsters, our message has to be ‘grow up you are pathetic’. You will not get away with muggings, shootings and murders because you are not gangsters or clever, you are kids,” he said. “It’s time to impose zero tolerance.”

There is widespread concern about the poor performance of Afro-Caribbean pupils, particularly boys. Only around a fifth of black boys achieve five good GCSE passes, compared to a national average of 51 per cent.

“Several schools have been warned by Ofsted that their performance is not up to scratch in racial equality. I understand that some schools have actually been failed because of this,” said Mr Phillips.

He described the underachievement of black boys at secondary school as a crisis.

He told the conference, London Schools and The Black Child, that there were twice as many young black men in jail as at university.