Black and mixed heritage pupils have rates of permanent exclusion three times that of the student population as a whole. There are a multitude of factors that contribute to this shocking disparity, including: staff being unaware of how microaggressions have a negative impact on culturally marginalised groups, reinforcing existing racial tensions; a lack of Black educators throughout the mainstream education system, from nursery to university level, so that Black children are not seeing themselves represented in environments where they spend the majority of time during key developmental years; add to this next to no representation of Black figures, history and culture across Humanities curriculums, affecting esteem, attainment and aspiration. It is clear the myriad of fundamental faults within the UK’s education system is a driver not just for exclusion, but also for the over representation of Black adults within mental health and criminal justice settings. This urgently needs addressing.
Titan Partnership, The REP’s Lightpost Leaders, as part of Big Lottery funded Shifting the Dial, and CJ Webley’s education and enterprise initiatives, Sorrel Park and Black Pounds Project will work collaboratively to pilot an impact project with schools sourced through Titan Partnership’s network.
A series of workshops to be developed by Black mentors, working alongside teachers in mainstream schools to jointly articulate their experiences and create a strategy for change.
The Light bearers initiative will allow us to remedy some of the racial tensions that exist within school environments between staff and students. The issues that the Black community face are very specific and this project allows us to raise awareness as we begin to tackle some sensitive issues. We will provide a space for staff to reflect on their own unconscious biases towards Black students in a safe space which will provide room for growth and transparency. Conducting anonymous surveys during sessions will allow staff to understand themselves and each other better without fear of judgement.
Experienced drama and workshop facilitators will manage the space, and where applicable use elements of performance to convey a message.