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SPRING 2010 / ISSUE 361
IoN EDUcAt SPEcIAl
Racism in schools How will cuts affect the education sector? Are black boys underachieving because of absent fathers?
Intelligence for a multi-ethnic Britain
Dr Rob Berkeley Director Sarah Isal Deputy Director Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard Senior Research & Policy Analyst Dr omar Khan Senior Research & Policy Analyst Jessica Mai Sims Research & Policy Analyst Kjartan Páll Sveinsson Research & Policy Analyst Phil Mawhinney Research & Policy Analyst Vastiana Belfon Real Histories Directory Robin Frampton Publications Editor Nina Kelly Editor, Runnymede online colin Kelly Business Development Manager Vicki Butler Public Affairs officer Klara Schmitz Project Assistant Kam Gill Project Assistant Riffat Ahmed Art Project Manager Rebecca Waller Administrator
WElcoME to the first online Runnymede Bulletin, the shiny new digital incarnation of our esteemed 40-year-old publication. Regular readers of the Runnymede Bulletin will have come to expect many things from us, not least relevant news updates, in-depth analysis and thoughtful comment from the race equality sector and the wider academic arena. And this education special, while different in its delivery, will not disappoint with its content. look out for the symbol on our contents page for everything education-related.
turn to page 10 for Dr tony Sewell’s opinion on the effect high numbers of absent fathers are having on young black boys’ attainment in school. But before you make up your mind, see the opposite page for tracey Reynolds’ counter argument. In keeping with our education theme, one of our new and permanent features - the Q&A (pp 28 & 29) - is with Zenna Atkins, chair of ofsted. this issue we learn how the schools inspection body incorporates race equality into its work, and how Zenna’s unconventional route to success has cemented her belief in the importance of education. Read snappy expert comments on how inevitable cuts in the education sector’s budget will affect each slice of the field in another of our new additions - the Vox Pop on page 30. Away from education, contributions from experts barrister corinna Ferguson and lord carlile Qc explore the use and dangers of ethnic profiling on pages 19 & 20. Meanwhile our financial inclusion team explore the importance of money advice (p 16), assets (p 18) and behavioural economics (p 21). And, before you think we’ve forgotten all about the recent poll that decided the future of our country, read Runnymede director, Rob Berkeley’s thoughts on what the coalition government might mean for education and race equality policy (p 43). there are also reviews, key facts and much much more, which I’ll leave you to explore at your own pace. Which leaves me just to thank all the wonderful people who lent us their thoughts, expertise, words and images to make this new-look Spring 2010 Runnymede Bulletin happen; we know your time is precious and we appreciate every second of it. If you have any feedback or suggestions for our forthcoming bulletins, please get in touch with me at the email address below.
7 Plough Yard london Ec2A 3lP t: 020 7377 9222 F: 020 7377 6622
email@example.com In 2010, four editions of the Runnymede Bulletin will be published to correspond with the seasons. ISSN: 1476-363X © the Runnymede trust, May 2010. open access, some rights reserved, subject to the terms of creative commons licence Deed: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK: England & Wales. You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform the work (including translation) without written permission; you must give the original author credit; you may not use this work for commercial purposes; you may not alter, transform, or build upon this work. For more information please go to www.creativecommons. org. For purposes other than those covered by this licence, please contact Runnymede.
Runnymede is the UK’s leading race equality thinktank. We are a research-led, non-party political charity working to end racism.
Nina Kelly, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
2 | BUllEtIN | SPRING 2010 / ISSUE 361 www.runnymedetrust.org
oN tHE coVER
07 RAcISM IS MoRE tHAN BUllYING A proposed duty should help schools tackle racist bullying, but does it go far enough? 10 ABSENt FAtHERS HolD BoYS BAcK Why black boys without male role models struggle at school
Photo: Vijay Jethwa
11 loNE MotHERS Not to BlAME An alternative view to those who cite single-parent families for black boys’ underachievement 19 EtHNIc PRoFIlING A civil rights barrister for liberty explains why it is not a necessary evil 20 AccoUNtABIlItY IN lAW lord carlile Qc on how stop and search laws could evolve
30 VoX PoP Experts from within the education sector on how cuts will affect them
NEWS IN BRIEF
05 BNP’S loSSES AND GAINS Big losses and small gains for the UK’s best-known racist party 06 RAcE EQUAlItY SEctoR cAMPAIGN the race equality sector’s part in the 2010 general election campaign
28 Q&A We quiz Zenna Atkins, chair of schools inspection body ofsted 31 KEY FActS ten facts you ought to know about race and education 32 REVIEWS Books, films, dance and art diversity’s part in culture 42 RUNNYMEDE DIARY Browse through an abridged version of Runnymede’s schedule in the past and coming few months 43 DIREctoR’S colUMN Rob Berkeley on what the election result could mean for race equality
12 ZERo EXclUSIoNS ARE PoSSIBlE How local authorities can find alternatives to school exclusions 14 END RAcISM IN A GENERAtIoN A new Runnymede project, Generation 3.0, aims to do just that 16 tAKE MY ADVIcE Ethnic minorities may be losing out on money advice services
Photo: Brian Slater
18 WHY Do ASSEtS MAttER? Why a lack of assets can be more indicative than income poverty 21 BEHAVIoURAl EcoNoMIcS What this alternative to ‘standard’ economics could mean for policy 23 BlAcK FAtHERS coUNt Former higher education minister David lammy MP on why fathers in the black community must step up
A VIEW FRoM...
25 ...FRANcE How non-white French people can be treated as foreigners in the country they were born and raised in 26 ...PARlIAMENt Race equality and those with the power to achieve it - how our public affairs programme will provide a much-needed link between them
Photo: Nina Kelly
40 tHE SWANN REPoRt Achievements of the race equality sector in the 15 years since the report was published
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09 PAtHWAYS to SUccESS School exclusion is not the end of the story for young people
NEWS IN BRIEF
Record number of BME MPs voted in
There were more black and minority ethnic (bme) members of parliament elected in the may 2010 Uk general election than there have ever been in the past. a total of 27 bme mPs now sit in parliament, up from 14 under the previous government. among their number are a few new names, such as chuka Umunna, labour mP for Streatham, in south london. mr Umunna won more than 20,000 votes, an increase of more than one thousand on the labour result for 2005. meanwhile the conservative’s Priti Patel mP won her seat in the essex constituency of witham, as did helen Grant mP, the first black woman to represent the party in westminster. ms Grant won ann widdecombe’s old seat of maidstone and The weald in kent, where the Tories took 48 per cent of the vote. Veteran labour mPs from the black community diane abbott and david lammy were returned to westminster with increased majorities. however labour’s dawn butler lost her seat to lib dem Sarah Teather. Similarly, high profile conservative hopefuls Shaun bailey and wilfred emmanuel Jones narrowly missed the chance to represent their constituencies in the house of Parliament. one of the first muslim woman mPs, Shabana mahmood, was also a product of this general election, winning clare Short’s old seat in the birmingham constituency of ladywood. Finally, among the last results on election night was a victory for labour’s rushanara ali in bethnal Green and bow, east london.
Diane Abbott MP, who has announced her candidacy for leadership of the labour Party
John Denham MP urges for focus on class
a heated debate followed John denham mP’s speech to launch the former government’s report Tackling Race Inequalities: A Statement on Race, in January 2010. The then communities secretary urged a new approach to race relations, saying that tackling discrimination and inequality should mean taking account of the importance of social class in holding people back, rather than simply concentrating on race. he went on to say that there have been “substantial strides in the past decade towards racial equality”, and that “sustained action over the last ten years has promoted racial equality and better race relations, dismantled unfair barriers faced by many and helped to nurture a society more comfortable with diversity than ever before.” however the labour mP did acknowledge that there is still much to do, especially in the areas of school exclusions, the national dna database, and stop and search. he also said that without tackling all forms of discrimination, prejudice and inequality, we will not succeed in tackling racism. comments flooded into online forums in the immediate aftermath of denham’s speech, many somewhat inaccurately interpreting his comments as a declaration that racial equality has been achieved. mainstream news outlets were also moved to comment, with a mixed response. The Guardian’s alan Travis warned that labour may alienate its core supporters. meanwhile andrew Gilligan agreed with denham, and highlighting the plight of the white working class in an article for the Telegraph. Read John Denham’s paper on race equality exclusively for Runnymede at: http://bit.ly/runnymededenham
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Photo: Vijay Jethwa
Big losses and small gains for the BNP Anti-Islamic moves
TeacherS In enGland wIll noT be banned from membership of the racist british national Party (bnP), a review concluded. The decision came after a list was leaked in September 2009 identifying thousands of bnP members by name; 15 of them were schoolteachers. The government then commissioned a review to decide whether or not members of openly racist organisations such as the bnP should be allowed to continue as normal in the teaching profession. Former chief inspector of schools maurice Smith concluded that banning teachers from bnP membership would be like “taking a very large sledgehammer to crack a minuscule nut”. The review concluded that there were enough measures already in place to prevent the promotion of racism by teachers while in school, though these should be reviewed annually. Police and prison officers remain forbidden from joining the bnP, however. on the same day that the review affecting teachers’ permission to join the bnP was published, the central london county court ruled that the far right party’s admissions policy was still discriminatory, even after a white-only membership rule was scrapped just one month earlier. whomever their members may be, however, it has become clear that the bnP’s political clout is decidedly weaker than its leader nick Griffin had claimed. In the london constituency of barking, where Griffin hoped to oust re-elected labour mP margaret hodge, he was instead delivered a decisive third-place defeat in the recent general election. In the local elections of the same area of north-east london the bnP lost all 12 of its barking and dagenham council seats after an effortful campaign by other local candidates and anti-fascist organisations. nick lowles, head of the anti-bnP campaign hope not hate, which galvanised support from thousands of volunteers across the country, has expressed his pride at the result in barking in particular. he said: “This really was a disastrous result for the bnP,” adding that he expected the fallout to have an effect on Griffin’s leadership of the far-right party. despite the bnP’s failure to win a platform in the house of Parliament and the loss of 26 of the 28 council seats it won in 2006, it would be premature to herald the party’s end. as reported by the londonist website, in the 2010 general election the bnP has in fact increased its share or number of votes (or both) across several constituencies, including barking, dagenham, oldham east, oldham west, Stoke on Trent central and morley and outwood. while the bnP has failed to amplify its voice in local and central government, its base of support is still holding strong, meaning there is work still to be done.
are supported in Western Europe
A small Roma victory and a lot left to do
claImS oF anTI-roma racIST discrimination were upheld by the european court of human rights (echr) in march 2010. The case, originally heard in a local court in croatia, was made on behalf of 15 schoolchildren who were segregated from all non-roma pupils. The school’s argument that the roma-only classes came about as a result of language barriers were given little weight and, eight years after the original complaint, the european court sealed a victory for the roma families. despite being the largest ethnic minority community in europe, including an estimated 7-9 million people, roma, Gypsies and Travellers still experience high levels of discrimination and inequality, as reported by amnesty International in april 2010. Just months before the 2010 british election, the then labour government called on local councils to make the full use of aSbos to tackle antisocial behaviours explicitly “associated with Gypsies and Travellers”. This guidance, published in march 2010 set out the powers and tools available to councils, including aSbos and civil injunctions. at the time, runnymede’s westminster monitor blog reported on the danger of singling communities out in this way.
belGIUm IS SeT To be The FIrST country in europe to ban the burqa. belgian mPs in the lower house of parliament voted almost unanimously on 29 april 2010 to prohibit the wearing of the face-covering Islamic veil in public. The full body burqa or face-covering niqab will become prohibited dress in streets, public gardens, sports grounds and public buildings according to a draft bill. women who flout the ban could face a jail sentence of up to seven days or a fine of approximately £22. anxiety over a perceived growth in the prominence of Islam in europe has also been seen in neighbouring France, which has western europe’s largest muslim population. French President nicolas Sarkozy said the burqa and niqab were not welcome in France, describing the full veil as “contrary to our values and to the ideals we have of women’s dignity”, in a comment made in april 2010. a further sign of France’s bid to clamp down on the face-covering Islamic veil was shown in a recent incident in nantes, in which a woman was fined for driving while wearing a niqab. The muslim woman was pulled over by police and told that her clothing posed a ‘safety risk’ to her driving. French mPs are due to vote shortly on banning the burqa from public places. The total ban could be made law by summer 2010. meanwhile in Switzerland, a solid majority backed a referendum banning the construction of minarets, distinctive architectural features that are usually found on top of Islamic mosques. The ban was supported by 57.5 per cent of those who participated in the vote, even though there were just four mosques with minarets in the country at the time of the referendum. a seminar held by the Uk race and europe network (Ukren) in april 2010 explored the worrying anti-Islamic legislation that has been drafted in recent months. key note speaker Tariq ramadan, who is Professor of Islamic Studies at oxford University, urged muslims to abide by the law of the land in which they live, whatever it might be. he emphasised instead the importance of using legitimate means to challenge infringements on civil liberties, such as european law.
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NEWS IN BRIEF
campaigns are not just for politicians
The camPaIGnS leadInG UP To the 2010 general election were intense and inescapable, exactly as we would expect from one of the most closely fought political battles in modern history. and the effort afforded to campaigning came, not only from the three front-running political parties and, indeed, all those hoping for a seat in the house of commons, but also from pressure groups and equalities organisations, making sure their agendas were not lost in the collective noise. organisations including operation black Vote (obV), equanomics and the 1990 Trust led the floor for the race equality sector with a campaign to get party leaders to outline how their manifestos would affect black and minority ethnic (bme) people. 2,500 bme voters mobilised for the black britain decides event, one of the biggest rallies of the election. Senior figures from all three leading parties took part in the event, including harriet harman, then deputy leader of the labour Party, Vince cable and George osborne, now members of the prime minister david cameron’s cabinet. Issues covered at the rally included the under-representation of bme people in parliament and the dangers their over-representation on the dna database. The attention of senior politicians was perhaps caught by obV’s reiteration that the black vote could have a significant effect on the overall outcome of the general election. The campaigning organisation made the case that several marginal seats could be decided by a sizable bme proportion of the electorate in those constituencies. obV pointed, in particular, the london areas of Finchley, battersea and Golders Green, as well as seats further north, such as bradford west and birmingham Yardley. Simon woolley, coordinator of obV, described the event, which filled the methodist central hall near the houses of Parliament, as ‘a show of force to the political elite’. as the Guardian newspaper commented at the time, the under-representation of bme people in positions of political power was never more evident than at black britain decides, in which the six representatives from the major parties were all white. harriet harman, who surprised a few by opening her address with ‘Good evening brothers and sisters’, highlighted the fact that labour had done more than any other leading party for race equality during their time in office. George osborne arrived on stage to boos from the audience, but received a loud cheer in response to his party’s plans to curb the reach of the dna database, while Vince cable addressed the lib dems’ lack of ethnic diversity within its own ranks, purporting to take a personal responsibility for addressing the problem. It is worth mentioning, however, that the liberal democrats, despite having no bme mPs before or after the election, were the only major party to release a race equality manifesto. In it, the lib dems pulled out some key policies from their overall manifesto, highlighting how they could potentially benefit people from bme communities other organisations worked together to raise the profile of the race equality sector, putting together The black manifesto. The manifesto, designed to keep the issue of equality for all races and ethnicities on the agenda, included a look at the inequalities of financial inclusion for bme people. This is the idea that a lack of access to formal banking products and services leads to positions of discrimination among certain groups. runnymede conducts a series of projects around financial inclusion, to find out more go to: runnymedetrust.org/financial-inclusion not forgetting our own push to keep race equality on the wider political agenda, with our runnymede Platform publications. read mPs lynne Featherstone, dominic Grieve and John denham outline their respective parties’ perspectives at: runnymedetrust.org/platform
New act will enshrine race equality in law
The eQUalITY acT IS now Uk law, having completed the final stage of its passage through parliament in april 2010. The provisions in the act, which was first introduced as the equality bill to the house of commons almost a year ago, will begin to take effect in the autumn. The new legislation brings together many of the existing equality laws under one umbrella, which will help to make individuals’ rights clearer to them and their employers. changes made to the law during its passage through the house of lords included adding a power to outlaw caste discrimination and a requirement for political parties to publish information on the diversity of their candidates. laws preventing racial discrimination will be supported and enshrined by the equality act, as will unfair treatment on the grounds of gender, age and disability. The equality and diversity Forum (edF), of which runnymede is a member, strongly urged parliamentarians to support the legislation through its journey to royal assent. The new law should also enable positive action initiatives to be widened and simplified, making it plain how business owners could redress the balance of under-represented groups, such as black and minority ethnic people, in their employment. Protection from injustice due to ‘dual discrimination’ is an aspect of the equality bill particularly welcomed by edF members. before the equality act, for example, a black woman who felt she had been unfairly treated due to her gender and race combined would have had little legal protection.She would have had to choose between race and gender for the grounds on which to make her case in an employment tribunal. employers could then have pointed to colleagues who were white women or black men in a misleading defence. The equality act is largely regarded as a legacy of the outgoing labour government under Prime minister Gordon brown, with the particular hallmark of former equalities minister harriet harman. It is now up to the new conservative and liberal democrat coalition government to enforce the principles set out in the legislation.
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Racism is more than bullying
A proposed duty will ensure that all state-run schools record incidents of bullying in schools. this does not currently extend to reporting these incidents however. Debbie WeekesBernard explains why this is a concern
chools’ capacity to keep a record of all forms of bullying would be made easier by a proposed duty. The duty would ensure there was a record kept of incidents happening in school as well as outside of it, such as cyberbullying, so that all occurrences could be addressed.
the Stephen lawrence Inquiry report noted that schools should record racist incidents and report them to governors, parents and local authorities Until recently local authorities were required to report racist incidents to the government, but the numbers of occurrences in school were difficult to extract from this information. teachers who are members of racist organisations will not be banned from their profession, decided an independent review in March 2010
The duty is supported by the department for children, Schools and Families (dcSF), which called a consulative group - including representatives from runnymede - to discuss the issue in 2008. This consulation acted as a precursor for the initiative, which is expected be rolled out across england. The proposed duty is to be imposed on the governing bodies of all state-run schools. each institution will have to introduce new systems to record not only bullying between pupils, but also incidents of abuse against staff. In runnymede’s response to the initital consultation we agreed that having the ability to refer to data schools have collected would enable them to monitor any bullying and act accordingly to prevent anything similar happening in the future by focusing specifically on problem areas. also in our response, however, was our expressed concern that the proposed duty to record incidents does not currently extend to a duty to also report them; we suggested that it was necessary for any recorded incidents to be reported both at a local level and to central government. by reporting schools would allow the body receiving the reports to make note of any trends and target support to those institutions that would clearly benefit from it. Giving local authorities the ability to assess how trends are developing in this respect is vital if schools are to be assisted with identifying areas where intervention may be necessary.
Further, providing central government with Adam Hart ridiculed the locally collected information will help in defining of some minor a wide array of policy development areas, primary school playground chants including being able to draw links between as ‘racist incidents’ in his 2009 book the educational underachievement of specific the Myth of Racist Kids groups of children and their experiences of various forms of bullying. For these reasons runnymede still strongly advocates reporting as well as recording incidents of bullying by type, as was proposed by the dcSF in the first the race relations (amendment) act 2000. consultation document. There are also provisions to create more generic equality duties for all equality streams under the equality act, which was approved Racist incidents in april 2010 and will begin to take effect in the autumn. requiring schools to continue to we are even more deeply concerned, however, note and report racist incidents would clearly about the omission within the proposals of a fall under existing race equality duties, duty to both record and report racist incidents and indeed any future equality duties. The to local authorities, and indeed to central monitoring of bullying by type - including government. we are aware of the existing incidents related to race, religion or culture, procedures within schools to record and report as was noted in the consultation document racist incidents and that dcSF guidance to could indeed assist schools in relation to their schools on this issue notes that schools must duty to promote community cohesion, but record and report all such incidents to local only partially. authorities at least annually. There are many schools that have duly recorded and reported as it stands, the recording and reporting of incidents and, though there has been some racist incidents goes beyond examples of degree of consternation at the numbers of bullying. Yet the wording in the proposals for incidents reported, awareness about these the new duty restricts the definition of bullying incidents is necessary and important. That to physical or verbal abuse causing ‘harm or schools are recording and reporting these distress to the individual concerned’, which incidents not only demonstrates to any child does not include many of the wider issues or parent that their experiences of racism that combine to create a racist incident. not are being taken seriously, but also provides all racist incidents are incidents of bullying. evidence that schools are working proactively The macpherson report on the Stephen to support, not only victims, but those who lawrence Inquiry noted that a racist incident engaged in activity that has caused offence to is one ‘which is perceived to be racist by the another. victim or any other person’. dcSF guidance on the recording and reporting of racist current laws incidents notes that incidents can include both verbal and physical abuse, but can also Schools are currently under a duty to promote include apparently victimless incidents, such race equality and good race relations under as racist graffiti or the wearing of symbols (or
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emblems of groups) that promote race hatred, for example a badge bearing a swastika. The decision to limit the definition of bullying to physical and verbal abuse only was also noted within the dcSF consultation document as an attempt to remove some of the bureaucratic pressures faced by schools. Indeed adam hart’s recent critique of the reporting of racist incidents pilloried the time-consuming practice of recording often very small incidents. moreover, teachers and schools have themselves noted the inherent
Though we appreciate that it is problematic to focus exclusively on racist incidents without acknowledging the wider context within which those incidents occur, specifically in majority white schools, we would not dismiss the usefulness of recording and reporting racist incidents as a means of helping schools to address the problems experienced by their bme pupils and teachers. runnymede welcomes the focus on teachers who may be the victims of abuse. work that has explored the approach of
pupil bullying and pupil to staff bullying, it does not also note teacher to pupil bullying. It is clearly not the case that incidents of this kind do not occur, and we would suggest that any focus on bullying includes reference to this issue. The recent decision by the former chief of inspectors maurice Smith not to bar teachers from membership of organisations that may promote racism, such as the british national Party (bnP), was made on the basis that there already exist measures to prevent the promotion of racism in schools included the ‘expectation’ that schools currently report racist incidents among other strategies. maurice Smith highlighted the plans by the dcSF to make this ‘expectation’ a legal requirement. however this legal requirement will clearly only partially cover the prevention of any promotion of racism if it is restricted to bullying. This approach will ignore the wider remit covered by looking at racist incidents more broadly. Further, it will not address the potential for bullying by teachers towards their pupils, given that it has been made clear now that teachers’ membership of openly racist organisations is acceptable. The current approach to the issue of racism in education as exemplified by these issues is saddening to say the least. It pays scant attention to the wide variety of ways in which racism can be experienced by both bme pupils and teachers in Uk schools.
Reporting racist incidents shows that they are being taken seriously
bureaucracy involved in this obligation. It is, however, our contention that referring solely to instances of verbal and physical abuse within the proposed definition of bullying will fail to address those apparently victimless incidents. These occurrences, despite not appearing to target any specific individual pupil or teacher within the school, can lead to distress, worry and an overall negative impact upon the performance of those from black and minority ethnic (bme) backgrounds who are teaching or learning within the relevant institution. schools with majority white pupils to issues of race and racism has noted the often negative experiences of teachers from bme backgrounds in these institutions. we would specifically draw attention to the experiences of bme teachers who report bullying from pupils in white majority schools as well as discussing the wider experience of racism that extends beyond individual pupils, to their parents and other members of the wider community in which their school is situated. we would further add that though the consultation document focuses on pupil to
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Pathways to success
Black caribbean pupils are three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their white peers. Professor cecile Wright gives us the benefit of her research, arguing that exclusion is not the end of the story for expelled pupils
schooling. most of the young people in the study were back in mainstream education, in employment or about to return at the time we contacted them. Further, most of the young people were optimistic about the future, despite having experienced a disrupted education. black young people told us how the influence of family, friends and community enabled them to succeed against the odds. For many years black youths have been problematised and pathologised. This has been accompanied by blaming their educational ‘failure’ and ‘cultural deficits’. however research reveals that there is positive social and cultural capital in the black community, and that this capital is supportive of positive educational outcomes and successful transitions. For the young people we spoke to, labelling and stigmatisation meant that they came to occupy a marginal status. however, in marginal spaces resistance and empowerment develops, as has been noted in the acclaimed work of bell hooks. These young people felt that school exclusion was indicative of the discriminatory processes they would
istorically, within the Uk the presence of black and minority ethnic (bme) young people within the education system has been framed by a struggle for educational opportunities. This has been characterised by systematic institutional discriminatory practices which have manifested continued below average performance evidenced in disproportionately poor exam results and high exclusion rates. The number of pupils excluded from school is falling, according to the figures held by the department for children, Schools and Families (dcSF). however, a larger proportion of black caribbean and mixed white and black caribbean pupils has been excluded than white pupils. also, evidence suggests that disproportionate exclusion of black caribbean and mixed heritage pupils occurs irrespective of socio-economic context of the school, its performance, or its educational effectiveness. we need to go further to ascertain what happens to those who are excluded, and the support available to them. we need to ask: how do school exclusions come to structure opportunities beyond the school? how do
Professor cecile Wright
school experiences mirrored those of the children. resistance would operate through challenging the school and working with the child to develop classroom strategies for coping with their teachers and their peers. This was vital in assisting young people to overcome the effects of exclusion. The lack of educational provision during the period of exclusion is a major obstacle to a successful transition. community-based organisations, parents associations and families acted as surrogates for statutory service provisions. Young people in the study engaged with these services that facilitated a work ethos, attitudes of self worth and black identity. This was seen as vital in achieving successful transitions for these marginalised young people. The young people were able to highlight how racial stereotypes could be disproved by their own successful transitions. becoming aware of the intentional and unintentional discriminatory practices of society and its institutions is important in providing support to young people who have become marginalised as a result of them. Given this context, current government initiatives, such as the widening Participation agenda, aiming high and the black Pupils achievement Programme, fail to address the root problem, a discriminatory education system. Cecile Wright is Professor of Sociology at Nottingham Trent University and co-author of black Youth matters: Transitions from School to Success, published by Routledge, 2010.
Research reveals that there is positive social and cultural capital in the black community
black students respond, resist and work to transform their school experience? why is there a persistent expression of educational desire and optimism among excluded young people? The research underpinning the conclusions in my book Black Youth Matters: Transitions from School to Successes looks at how young people creatively respond to permanent face in wider society. The stigmatisation they experienced damaged their esteem and fractured opportunities. however, these feelings were temporary as the young people sought to replace the negative labels assigned to them. with the support of family, friends and community agencies the young people sought to change and a culture of resistance was available to them. This came from the support of parents and others whose own
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Absent dads hold boys back
Black caribbean boys are particularly vulnerable to underachievement in school and higher rates of exclusion. In a shortened version of an article that appears in full in a forthcoming Runnymede report, Dr tony Sewell gives his opinion as to why
each. we have found that our biggest barrier is not repairing the damage of racism in the education system, but getting boys to overcome the psychological damage of not knowing their fathers. as part of our orientation we play a simple game called ‘trust’. once I stood behind a mixed-race 15-year-old boy called martin who was to blindly fall into my arms. he refused to do it. Typically, this kind of tough play love would never come from his mother. Instead of allowing him to fall, she would probably grab him from behind and whisper in his ear: “This game is too dangerous; I’ll buy you a PlayStation instead.” whereas a typical father would say: “come on, son, fall. I’m behind and you’d better not look back.” walked out of their lives without explanation and suddenly demanded their respect. more than racism, I now firmly believe that the main problem holding black boys back academically is their over-feminised upbringing. Firstly, because there is no male role model to lock down the destructive instincts that exist within all males with the onset of adolescence, and no father to provide guidance on what a man should be. Second, in his own mind, no child is without a father. In the absence of such a figure he will seek out an alternative. This will usually be among dominant male figures, which are all too often found in gangs. This is the space where there is a kind of hierarchy, there is a ritual, there is education and, of course, a sense of belonging. The black gang is really a cadre of black male caricatures that replaces the father figure that never played the trust game with his son. It is the nearest they will get to the love usually given by a father. I believe we have wasted years, and lives, looking in the wrong direction as to the causes of failure in education and participation in crime. we have had endless studies attempting to prove institutional racism, obsessed with the prejudice of white teachers and police, while all along the psychological needs of our boys were never met. The current government policy of rolling out suited and booted role models to black youngsters is another attempt to externalise the problem that lies within. It has left us with little research and knowledge about the group that gets kicked out of school the most. meanwhile, the black family continues to disintegrate and it seems that no one dare say a word. Dr Tony Sewell is the director of Generating Genius, a visiting scholar at the University of the West Indies and a trustee of the Science Museum. See page 23 for a report of the Runnymede event on black fatherhood.
Dr tony Sewell
here is clear evidence to link family life, peer pressure and anti-school culture to disproportionate levels of black caribbean exclusion from school. however in the education department’s recent report Getting it, Getting it right, the government failed to focus on what they called ‘out of school causes’, and instead took the easy route of blaming institutional racism. black caribbean exclusions are three times higher than white. what the report fails to mention, however, is that black caribbean exclusions are also three times higher than black african exclusions. The clear ‘out of school’ difference is family and culture; black african fathers are present in their families much more than those from a black caribbean background. This leads to significant behavioural outcomes, particularly with boys. Psychologists have known for some time that children’s attachment to their fathers and mothers derives from different sets of early social experiences. Specifically, mothers provide security when a child is distressed; while fathers provide reassuring play partners.
Where ethnicity comes in
national statistics reveal that among those with a partner, 73 per cent of whites are in a formal marriage compared with only half of black caribbeans. among those who have married, caribbeans are twice as likely to have divorced or separated as whites across all age groups under the age of 60. we need to understand these matters and find solutions, otherwise we will continue to see a disproportionate amount of violent crime committed by young black males, higher exclusion rates from school, and the lessertold story of the high levels of mental illness among african-caribbean males. when we set up the Generating Genius programme we had aspirations to train and nurture the next generation of black britain’s intellectual best. however, these ideals soon became secondary. many of the boys, once freed from the arms of their mothers, suddenly had to cope with a world run by adult black males - figures who, in their lives, were mostly absent, unreliable, despised by their mothers, and unsuccessful. These boys kicked up against us as though we were the dads who had
we, at Generating Genius, have been running summer camps for five years now, where boys are taken from their familiar environment and work on high-level science projects at universities. all the boys have bucked the trend for inner-city african-caribbeans, scoring an average of nine high-grade GcSes
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lone mothers not to blame
In response to Dr tony Sewell’s comment on the opposite page, Dr tracey Reynolds writes in defence of the female-headed household. She also points out the inaccuracy of an assumption that absent dads equal no male role models
practices they associate with fatherhood and family life are rarely, if ever, publicly debated. contrary to popular (mis)conceptions, my own research identifies that many non-resident black fathers are involved in parenting and family life, albeit to varying degrees. of course, as Sewell alludes too, there will always be those fathers that have little or no contact with their children whether by choice or circumstance. but are we truly to believe that in such situations there exists a complete absence of male family members in these children’s lives? what about the stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, brother and male cousins? In caribbean cultures such menfolk traditionally provide a valuable resource and support system to lone-mothers in socialising young boys into culturally prescribed notions of manhood and masculine identities. Sewell’s assumption about such ‘over-feminised’ households completely overlooks and disregards the significant role these men play in caring for and raising black caribbean boys.
ony Sewell’s claim that black boys living in lone-mother households are ‘over-feminised’ due to the absence of a father figure in their lives is merely a continuation of the moral panic surrounding black fathers and family life.
The most recent figures indicate that in britain almost two thirds of black caribbean families with dependent children are lone-mother households. The fathers are typically portrayed as being ‘absentee fathers’ who are unwilling to take responsibility for their children. researchers and policymakers have been particularly concerned with understanding the extent to which black fathers’ absence from family life negatively impacts on their children’s emotional and psychological wellbeing and social development. Indeed, in the education field, a whole body of scholarship has developed out of this concern. many interventionist approaches designed to raise the educational achievement of black boys, for example surrogate father figures or male mentors who work with black boys in schools, take black fathers’ assumed absence from family life as the starting point in tackling this issue. oftentimes, the underlying subtext for black caribbean children is that their family structures, or more specifically absentee black fathers, are to blame. however, it is all too easy to blame nonresident fathers for the problems their children encounter in schools and the wider community, because in reality little is known about these fathers’ relationships with their children. There exists a scarcity of factual data and empirical research examining their parenting experiences. as such our knowledge about the behaviours and attitudes of ‘absent’ black fathers is typically based on myths, folklore and a series of sensationalised media images. despite a small but growing number of studies attempting to challenge such negative images, the views of fathers themselves and the
Dr tracey Reynolds
to Sewell’s attempt to link the issue of absent fathers and ‘over-feminised households’ to the educational underachievement among black caribbean boys in britain. I would argue that it is vitally important that a contextualised and measured approach to family life and black caribbean children’s educational success - or failure - foregrounds any discussion. Just as dr Sewell is critical of policymakers and practitioners adopting the ‘easy route in blaming institutional racism’ for black boys’ underachievement in our schools, it is important that he guards against adopting this same easy route in apportioning blame to cultural traditions of lone-mother households in caribbean communities.
other male role models
dr Sewell himself, as a black man of caribbean heritage, would recognise the wellestablished caribbean cultural practice of female-headed households. In this context, the mother figure is historically celebrated as occupying the dual role of nurturer/carer and worker/financial provider, in essence raising her children with little means of economic support from the father. Generations of black caribbean men in the caribbean and across the diaspora have been raised in such households. Is dr Sewell suggesting that culturally and historically, generations of black men are ‘over-feminised? Is there evidence that swathes of black men across the caribbean diaspora have underachieved and continue to do so as a result of being raised in a normative caribbean family structure? The relative educational success of black caribbean boys in the USa and canada raised in lonemother households would provide a direct challenge and interesting counter argument
the reality of official records
Furthermore, official records and data that record black fathers as ‘absent’ from households and living apart from their children does not accurately record the reality of family households and fathers’ living arrangements. a study I undertook myself identified that many low-income black mothers have partners who live with them. however, they declare themselves to be lone mothers as a strategic response to meet the requirements of the social welfare system. other lone mothers in the study, both low-income and higher-income mothers, also lived with their partner in either ‘visiting’ or ‘common law’ relationships, but they deliberately choose to define themselves as lone mothers in order to preserve their independent and autonomous status. Dr Tracey Reynolds is a senior research fellow at the London South Bank University.
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How school exclusions can
In his book, Strategic Alternatives to Exclusion from School, carl Parsons suggests that it is both possible and beneficial to bring pupil exclusions down to zero. Here he outlines his principal findings and arguments
There is a momentum, aligned with every child matters, that encourages us to see how low exclusion commitment, policies and strategies can be implemented more widely. There are concerns about current legislation and guidance and the operation of procedures at la and school level. The main concerns are in relation to: the treatment of vulnerable children; social justice in terms of the disproportionate exclusions of some groups; the unfairness and unequal capabilities of the partners in an exclusion appeal; the apparent tension between every child matters and the use of permanent exclusion against a small proportion of children (0.11 per cent in 2007/08) with fixed period exclusions applied to about 3 per cent of children, a proportion receiving multiple fixed-period exclusions. exclusion is a disciplinary response from a school and includes no forward plan for the child and no coherent vision of the educational community’s responsibility for making provision to meet need. It is a punitive response, however regretfully administered. It removes an alleged problem from the school, but it causes great anguish and hardship for the child and family concerned and increases problems for other services to deal with the child following exclusion. There are more effective, efficient and caring ways of managing the challenges at the level of the la and school clusters with support from other agencies. For example youth worker and social entrepreneur camila batmanghelidjh and her work with kids company demonstrates another, more responsible and caring ethical position.
ero exclusion schools are possible. more realistically, clusters of schools, with support, coordination and brokering by the local authority (la), can organise and sustain an inclusive educational community. exclusion from school is a quiet mockery of the governent programme every child matters, designed to ensure that every pupil has the chance to work towards a better future. The research and action reported on in this article are about how committed local authorities along with their educational and child support communities can successfully reduce or eliminate permanent exclusions. The Strategic alternatives to exclusion from School project set out to explore not whether permanent or fixed period exclusions should be banned but whether they could become unnecessary. Focusing initially on three low excluding las and then on five high excluding las, our research showed that local authorities have a powerful influence on school exclusions.
at the local strategic level, provision can be organised for all pupils through collective education and children’s services action. Three factors motivated the project: a conviction that power and control in education is exercised to an important degree at the corporate level in las through elected members and senior officers; the top 15 la excluders had an average permanent exclusion rate seven times higher than the average for the 15 lowest excluders; low excluders appeared to be able to maintain their low excluder position over time. There were nine zero excluding local authorities in 2007/08. many of these sustained very low or zero exclusions for two or more years. It can be done. The advantages of managing provision in a nonexclusionary way has massive benefits and we seek to spread the word through the dissemination of evidence even more than through moral exhortation.
Some groups are disproportionately excluded. Those from poorer backgrounds as indicated by free school meals, those with special educational needs and some ethnic groups are excluded at up to three times the average rate.
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be brought down to zero
The substantially higher than average rates for some ethnic minority groups stubbornly persist year on year and Gypsy-roma and Traveller children are excluded at even higher rates than other groups. There are arguments to be made that the education system is not being adjusted to meet the needs, expectations and attributes of some parts of the citizenry. The latest period for which dcSF statistics are given at the time of writing shows that 1,830 exclusions were of pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds. of these, 460 were of mixed ethnicity and 700 were black. It is how an la, its schools and children and families services work to confront these pressures that is crucial. discipline and behaviour policies exist in schools, but not relationship policies. The first two locate the blame and responsibility with the child while the third is a term that would share responsibility between the child, the adults and the institution. In publications giving advice and guidance the focus is mainly on the management of behaviour in the school and classroom. dcSF material similarly individualises the problem through its national Strategies scheme. our research showed that across the five high excluding las in which work was carried out, the mean unit cost per pupil varied. additional funds are received by schools for special needs, deprivation factors, ethnicity and second language learners etc. The project’s experience in a variety of schools is that this additional formula-driven funding is not always targeted at these deprivation factors. additionally, some schools have built up surpluses greater than proposed by the dcSF. The money is allocated to be spent on the pupils currently in the school and should be used for additional support or alternative provision where necessary.
1. Identify someone at la level who will be an ‘inclusion champion’ 2. Quickly negotiate authority level changes in structures, provision and staffing that headteachers will accept 3. ensure the lead is taken by a high-ranking and well-paid officer who has the authority and respect of heads and can do business with them 4. Support school leaders in offering different provisions and making best use of the diversified workforce in supporting challenging young people and their families 5. establish agreement amongst schools about how pupils might be moved from their current school, either permanently or temporarily, building on personal relations between schools but creating fair access protocols or points systems 6. develop a range of alternative curriculum providers, assessing and monitoring that providers can meet targets and contribute valuably to children’s development including qualifications 7. ensure that the teams of other professionals are of appropriate skill levels and can offer a fast response 8. create and recreate the sense of belief in the la’s duty to provide calmly and restoratively for every child. Zero exclusion schools and local authorities work. moreover, where ‘zero exclusion’ areas are achieved, the personal and collective damage to individuals and families is greatly reduced, and, in some cases, shocking, persistent inequalities are limited and a woeful lack of care for special needs pupils is avoided. all this can be done in a way that does not cost any more money than is currently being spent, and does not damage attainment standards. no other country in europe has exclusion rates like ours here in the Uk, and this startling fact should also be a prompt to new thinking, new practice and a real demonstration that every child matters.
In 2007/08 in england 8,130 pupils were permanently excluded and there were 383,830 instances of fixed term exclusions. In the three low excluding las, trust, speedy response and constructive, non punitive layers of provision were robustly coordinated, worked effectively and were impressive in their impact on exclusion rates. In wales permanent exclusion rates have been fairly low and often at half the rate for england. Scotland and northern Ireland have done even better, with rates that are a quarter of those in england. It is clear from the facts and the commentaries on those countries’ websites that a different commitment to the care and wellbeing of all children prevails. The permanent and fixed-term exclusion of young people from school, through a specific education law, is peculiarly british, if not english. The removal of education, even for a short period (unless for the health and safety of the individual or the school community) would seem to be individually and socially damaging. exclusions are applied disproportionately to lower socio-economic groups and some ethnic groups, which raises social justice issues. Poorer children, as signified by free school meals entitlement, and those of black caribbean heritage are three times more likely to be excluded than white children. The outcomes for permanently excluded young people are generally poor.
across the five high excluding local authorities, permanent exclusions fell between 2003/04 and 2007/08. where the biggest falls occurred it was clear that officers and schools had worked well together to develop new forms of provision and made new agreements about the management and transfer of challenging young people. Three of the project las reduced fixed-period exclusions, including one which had been the highest permanent excluder in 2003/04. Some secondary schools used newly opened Inclusion centres or learning Support Units as substitutes for fixed-term exclusion, recognising that the time off school usually meant that pupils would fall even further behind. It must be acknowledged that those las that managed to reduce the number of permanent exclusions did so though their own efforts, as well as that of their schools, children’s services and coordinated contribution from the voluntary sector.
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It ends here: Generation 3.0
Runnymede director Rob Berkeley reflects on the ever-evolving and resilient nature of racism, and how our next project seeks to end it
Video testimonials will be a central component of Generation 3.0
Photo: Benedict Hilliard
ommunities change. racisms change. For those who seek to live in a society where race, ethnicity, or background does not constrain life chances, it is of critical importance to be aware of the directions of these changes so that we are fighting today’s battles rather than those of yesterday. as we watch far right organisations focus their ire on muslim communities, or the ongoing impact of institutional racism on Gypsy and Traveller groups, or see eastern european migrants attacked in their homes or workplace, we can only marvel at the persistence of this false ideology of racism that has driven human atrocities of the largest scale and shaped our histories. as noted in the commission on the Future of multi-ethnic britain ten years ago: “Racism is a subtle and complex phenomenon. It may be based on colour and physical features or on culture, nationality and way of life; it may affirm equality of human worth but implicitly deny this by insisting on the absolute superiority of a particular culture; it may admit equality up to a point but impose a glass ceiling higher up. Whatever its subtle disguises and forms, it is deeply divisive, intolerant of differences, a source of much
human suffering and inimical to the common sense of belonging lying at the basis of every stable political community. It can have no place in a decent society.” Persistent, complex, changing and subtle in its forms, racism is a stain on our society that is difficult to shift. This does not mean that the battle is not worth fighting or that we cannot make progress in ridding our society of racism’s most egregious forms. Yet the complexity of tackling contemporary forms
whether they think we might be able to end racism in the Uk within the next generation. mostly, this suggestion has been met with bemusement – what would a society without racism look like, what actions would we need to take to achieve it, can racism really come to an end? my response has been that if we as a society wanted it badly enough we could do it through making our legislation work, understanding the dynamics of racism, understanding what works to change racist attitudes and behaviour, and developing the
We can only marvel at the persistence of this false ideology that has shaped our history
of racism can mean it is tempting to file them in the ‘too difficult’ box, leading to inaction, persistence of inequality, and the ongoing exclusion of minority ethnic groups. like a deer caught in the headlights, the citizen can abhor racism yet be confused about what to do about it. I’ve asked various audiences, from sixth formers, to trade unionists, to activists and academics, over recent months leadership required at all levels to finally put racism to an end. If we as a society created, and continue to re-create, racism, then we can also destroy it. The progress made within the last 15 years on equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lGbT) people in many parts of our society was unimaginable a generation ago. The
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considerable progress made on race equality would have been difficult for many to foresee
launched at a special community event and then, acting as an introduction to the debate,
It’s an ambitious programme looking at what it would mean to eradicate racism within a generation
thirty years ago. Is it a failure of our imagination if we cannot envisage a society on which racism has no hold - or at least one in which the racist is as marginalised and disregarded as those who believe the earth is flat? It is with this challenge in mind that runnymede is embarking on an ambitious series of projects to reflect on what it would mean to eradicate racism within a generation. entitled Generation 3.0, the projects will seek to find out what has worked so far in changing racist attitudes and behaviour, map the different conceptions of race and racism across generations, and support race equality organisations in building the activists of the future to lead the push to eradicate racism from our society. The programme is called Generation 3.0 because its key focus is young people three generations on from the major wave of post-war migration typified by those who disembarked from the SS empire windrush in 1948. Generation 3.0 also refers to the new styles of campaigning and political engagement that are now required to create societal change and the leadership of young people in creating new responses to persistent challenges. Fittingly, the geographical hub for the project will be handsworth in birmingham. Professor Gus John wrote runnymede’s first commissioned research project, Race in the Inner City, in 1971 based on his experiences there, a text to which we shall be returning. working with local partners, Generation 3.0 will organise workshops and collect ‘video testimonies’ from 70 participants who are either over 60 or under 25, and from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds. The video testimonies will be pulled together for the production of two short films that will draw out a narrative reflecting on the range of responses and the changing nature of attitudes to racism and race equality. The films will be to be attractive and exciting as a prelude to the second phase of the project, in which we aim to create a series of intergenerational conversations about race and racisms in towns and cities across the Uk. alongside this interactive video arts work we will be publishing a paper that looks at the experiences of lone mothers raising mixed they will be used to encourage others to engage with the project. The video testimonies will also be used as content for a dedicated website, which will enable others to engage in the debate; upload their own testimonies; explore others’ views about race relations; signpost routes to action to promote good race relations; and encourage schools, youth groups and community organisations to replicate the project. The website will be developed with a view to encouraging interaction with the project and
the programme will mean working closely with the grandchildren of migrants
heritage children in the 1960s, and others doing the same now, in order to ascertain what has changed and what has remained the same. we hope to be able to develop some further research on how racisms may impact on citizens’ relationships with their neighbourhoods and the spaces that they use in towns and cities. we will also be conducting a research project over coming months working with community and voluntary organisations in and around handsworth to understand how different conceptions of race and racisms across generations act as a potential barrier to or trigger for activism. by engaging with young people and older people who are committed to tackling racism we hope to be able to illuminate the different approaches across generations and encourage dialogue that can build a shared agenda for change. runnymede is interested in building this programme further so that the call for the elimination of racism within a generation is
met with enthusiasm for change, rather than confusion. all those working to tackle a social evil such as racism should look forward to the day when the organisation they work for no longer needs to exist; runnymede is no exception. we hope that Generation 3.0 will make a significant contribution to our demise.
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Photo: Benedict Hilliard
take my advice: Money guidance and poverty in the UK
Among several grim money-related truths the recession has shone a spotlight on is the reality that many people in this country are not managing their finances well. Phil Mawhinney examines a new government scheme that could provide us with free money advice
programme focuses on financial education, information and money advice. The plan, called the national Strategy for Financial capability, is led by the Financial Services authority (FSa) and is particularly aimed at groups of people in need. unemployed, for example, find it difficult to open a bank account, which means that they are unable to gain financial knowledge through interactions with banks. To fill this ‘advice gap’, the government has been piloting a new service called money Guidance. This offers free and impartial guidance and information on a range on money issues, including when we need advice on money matters budgeting, borrowing, retirement planning many of us simply pick up the phone and and welfare benefits. make an appointment with a bank adviser or an independent financial adviser. but such sources of help are beyond the reach and Knowledge deficit budget of a great number of marginalised people on low incomes in our society, which one of the major challenges for this or any includes a significant number of black and future government money advice initiative minority ethnic (bme) people (8 per cent is that there are such large gaps in people’s of the population in the 2001 census and knowledge of money matters. Seeking Sound likely to be higher by 2011). Those who are Advice uncovered plenty of evidence of such re we useless with money in the Uk? Unable to tell our aPr from our VaT; are we too lazy to change from one bank to another in order to get a better deal? or perhaps you subscribe to the alternative view: that we are actually very good at managing our money, in some cases despite being poor or denied accounts and loans by banks. These are the competing visions of Uk citizens’ ability to understand and deal with their finances. They are the choppy extremes between which the government’s ‘financial capability’ agenda is attempting to sail. a new runnymede research report, Seeking Sound Advice: Financial Inclusion and Ethnicity, includes conversations with bangladeshi, black caribbean and chinese people, with the aim of finding out what kind of help they need when managing their money and to whom they turn to get this help. we have looked at how people want to be better informed financially, as well as the ways in which they are unable or unwilling to access the advice services that could help them to build their knowledge.
Financial capability policy
So how does a government widely considered to be bloated and unwieldy help the average person become a model of financial knowledge and confidence or, to use government policy speak, ‘financially capable’? The answer is through a five-year plan that aims to equip people with the confidence and know-how to manage their own finances. at its core, this
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knowledge deficits. For example, maggie, who works in a chinese community centre, told us that it is quite common for chinese people to be unaware of the need to pay pension entitlements. She said: “we’ve got a lot of people who have no entitlement.” all those who are not intimately familiar with Uk systems, such as the financial, tax, welfare benefits and utilities systems, are particularly vulnerable to knowledge gaps. This includes, as you would expect, a large number of migrants and other bme people. one advice practitioner we spoke to explained that recent migrants often lack familiarity with how utilities such as water are paid for. an example one interviewee gave was that some people didn’t have running water in their own homes when they lived in Somalia, and so did not understand that you have to pay for this service in the Uk. Particular bme groups may be more likely than the wider population to have a lower level of financial awareness. as a result, many bme people stand to gain a lot if they are able to use money Guidance to build their knowledge.
for first generation migrants. he said: “high street banks do offer all this advice…but if you don’t have the language skills then it’s very difficult to access that information.” language prevents people from getting advice from not only banks but also advice charities, such as the citizens’ advice bureau. This has led runnymede to recommend that money Guidance employ multi-lingual advisers reflecting the population in the surrounding area. no amount of information and guidance will help people if it is not in a language that they can understand. The other, very different, reason people do not use banks is that they choose to avoid them. while no bank has policies that discriminate on the grounds of ethnicity, some bme people continue to have bad experiences of banks, from frosty receptions to suspicion and open hostility from individual members of staff. nasir, a black caribbean man, told us that he and others in that community have faced such experiences. he said: “[People in the black caribbean community] speak english and make an effort, but just because of the strong accent, people [in the bank] are not very patient and they will be quite dismissive.” runnymede research suggests that such incidents result in some people steering clear of banks wherever possible. It is clear that trust in banks is in somewhat of a trough these days. The people we spoke to were distrustful of banks in a number of ways: some thought them incompetent, others thought them greedy and self-serving. The second of these is clear in the thoughts of Sami, a young black caribbean man, who said: “I can imagine you ask [banks] for advice and then they try and sell you some new kind of account.” a recent bbc article drew wider attention to the issue of the impartiality of banks’ advice.
there are at least 890,000 adults in the UK who do not have access to a bank account Black people experience the highest rates of unemployment (20%), followed by mixed-race (17%), Asian (13%) and white people (8%), by 2009 figures Bangladeshi and Pakistani people experience the worst rates of income poverty at 65% and 55% respectively, compared to 20% for white British people Moneymadeclear, the government’s free online and telephone money guidance service, was launched in March 2010; the full roll out of the face-to-face element of the scheme will be later in the year spoken to people on low incomes who want and need this help, the fact that money Guidance is free is to be commended.
the other side of the coin
There is an alternative to thinking that people lack knowledge and so need to be advised and informed: believing instead that most people are actually quite good at managing their money, but by not using banks or other formal ways of saving and borrowing they use their money less effectively than they could otherwise. There are two important and distinct reasons why this may be so. Firstly, there are those who are unable to access banks and similar institutions; secondly there are those who purposefully avoid such formal methods of money management. regarding those whose access to banks is limited or completely restricted, there are reasons for this that are particularly relevant to migrant communities: that they may lack the identification, employment or other documents needed to open a bank account. also, people on low incomes, including disproportionate numbers of bme people (as shown in the graph opposite) are often unable to obtain loans or to save with a bank, never mind pay for an independent adviser. Those with limited english language skills also find it very difficult to make use of information where bank-provided literature is not available in any other language. Salman, a bangladeshi man, explained to our researchers that this presents a real barrier
runnymede research shows, then, that government measures to improve people’s financial capability are definitely meeting a need. but it is important, however unimaginative it may at first appear, to restate the importance of poverty. Put bluntly, many people have so little money that most of the topics covered by money Guidance – such as mortgages, pensions and savings – will be of little relevance to them. one older bangladeshi man told us repeatedly: “all my money is spent on essentials – how can I save?” Financial capability policies may build people’s ability to save, plan or buy a house but this means very little for those living hand-to-mouth. People of all ethnic backgrounds experience real poverty in the Uk in the 21st century, but bme people are particularly likely to experience income poverty. The Uk could theoretically find itself in the odd position of having citizens who are financially knowledgeable and confident, yet stuck in poverty. Particularly in the context of a harsh recession, discourses of capability must not replace those of poverty. Download Phil’s report Seeking Sound advice at: http://bit.ly/moneyadvice
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Dangers of word-of-mouth
one result of this mistrust and avoidance of banks is that people ask friends and family for advice instead. This informal advice is often particularly prevalent in ethnic minority communities that share language and culture. while informal advice can be a source of help, there is a real danger that such advice is misinformed, incomplete or just plain wrong, especially where people have little experience of finance or are unfamiliar with Uk systems. The money Guidance service may appeal to people disenchanted with or unable to access banks but who want reliable, well-informed guidance for their personal finances. having
Many ethnic minority people hold very few assets and are disadvantaged as a result. omar Khan explains why this form of wealth is important
hile pay gaps between different ethnic groups attract more attention, asset inequality outstrips the issue in significance. Up to 60 per cent of black and asian people have no savings at all.
a national equality Panel report published in February 2010 found that whereas the average white family has £221,000 in assets, black african and bangladeshi families have only £21,000 and £15,000 respectively. without significant assets, young people are less likely to take up further education or training and instead take the first job on offer; while older people will struggle to pay their bills after they retire. For most people in the Uk their home is their primary if not exclusive asset. rates of home-ownership are significantly lower for most bme groups - especially bangladeshis and black africans, but also chinese and black caribbean people. Furthermore, where home ownership matches that of white people - for example among Pakistanis - those homes are more likely to be in deprived areas and therefore hold a lower value.
Home-ownership is a common way of buliding assets
Photo: Sinae Hong
Homes are not the only type of asset
having recently bought a home with my wife, I am well-placed to observe the social obsession around homeownership and, of course, house prices. This affliction is particularly advanced in britain. Two reasons for owning a property are not often separated either by homeowners or by policymakers: the notion of a property as a financial investment or an asset; and the emotional, personal and familial joys of living in our home. houses are not the only kind of asset - nor are they only an asset – and we should rely less on home-ownership as a way of increasing people’s assets. more recent migrants are of course less likely to have the advantage of generational build-up of assets, whether housing or otherwise. but for bme groups which have a longer history of living in the Uk, a significant cause of the lower levels of assets is their experience of work. with lower earnings, worse employment outcomes and higher poverty rates - not to mention evidence that employers are still less likely to call people with obviously ‘ethnic’ surnames to an interview - many black and minority ethnic people are less able to put aside savings, and to see those savings grow over their lifetime. In the past decade, the government has occasionally focused on building up non-housing assets for everyone, for example in the child Trust Fund and the Saving Gateway. but such policies fall short of providing everyone with assets. In order to do this, government must consider alternative and more radical measures, especially if those assets are to enable social mobility for disadvantaged people.
while all political parties now appear to agree on the value of social mobility, asset-building has long been supported across the political spectrum for a range of social and financial reasons. margaret Thatcher famously championed ‘property-owning democracy’, while Friedman and hayek argued that a more equal distribution of wealth contributes to market efficiency by placing productive resources in the most entrepreneurial hands. before the 1997 election, Tony blair referred to a ‘stakeholding’ society. In the centre-left tradition this idea links asset-holding to citizenship and has regularly if inconsistently informed labour and liberal party policies from the 1930s to the 1990s. For example, in 1987 the Social democratic Party (SdP) endorsed the notion of a ‘citizen Unit Trust’ - in which 1.5 shares per every 100 commissioned in the private sector would be provided to every citizen. Providing an equal share to everyone would perhaps also lead to greater social solidarity between people of different ethnic groups. Since the financial crisis we have become more concerned about citizens’ low amounts of savings and high levels of debts, and the wider effects on our economy. now would be a good time for politicians to seriously examine the range of asset-building options we set out in our report, from equity shares in social housing to using receipts from inheritance tax to create a stock of assets for everyone. These would support a more solid future in which everyone has a better chance of realising their aspirations, including black and minority ethnic people. Dr Omar Khan is the author of the report why do assets matter?, which explains the low level of wealth for many black and minority ethnic people, why this is a problem, and how policy could respond.
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Not a necessary evil
In the wake of a successful ruling for civil rights group liberty in its challenge of broad UK stop and search powers, barrister corinna Ferguson outlines the importance of the campaign
iberty successfully challenged the blanket stop and search powers that Uk police were able to wield under section 44 of the Terrorism act 2000. one of the main arguments of the case, which went all the way to the european court of human rights (echr), was that this law permitted officers to select individuals, at least partly, on the basis of their ethnic origin. even in the post-Stephen lawrence Inquiry era, the risks of racial stereotyping and the targeting of minorities are inherent in any scheme that permits stop and search without any requirement for objective justification. but the concern here was not only about inadvertent racial prejudice; the relevant code of Practice effectively condones conscious racial profiling and it seems unquestionable when one looks at the statistics that at least some officers have been treating black and asian people with more suspicion than white people. based on the 2007/8 figures from the ministry of Justice, asian people were five and a half times more likely to be searched than white people and black people were almost seven times more likely to be searched. and since only 0.06 per cent of searches under section 44 resulted in arrests for terrorismrelated offences, it would be impossible for the police to argue that this approach was contributing to public safety.
showing disproportionate use of section 44 against ethnic minorities, and referred to the risks of discriminatory use as ‘a very real consideration’ in reaching its conclusion that the legislation did not provide adequate safeguards against abuse. It ruled that the lack of such safeguards, together with the fact that the power was insufficiently circumscribed, meant that there had been a violation of article 8 of the european convention on human rights, which guarantees the right to respect for private and family life. It is the government’s expressed intention to request that the case be reconsidered by the Grand chamber in Strasbourg, an exceptional procedure that depends on the court accepting that the case raises a serious issue of general importance. liberty has suggested amendments which would tighten up section 44 by limiting its use to particularly sensitive locations and events, as well as introducing a requirement of ‘reasonable necessity’ for designating areas, and far greater geographical and temporal restrictions. a truly exceptional power of this kind could be used in a similar way to the type of searches we are all accustomed to when entering particular public buildings, such as courts or the houses of Parliament, i.e. everyone would be subjected to a search as a condition of entry and there could be no question of arbitrary or discriminatory use. The benefits of this approach are clear. It maintains the police and the security services’ ability to deal with particular threats by creating a power to stop and search without suspicion, while in practice providing a far more effective way of deterring and apprehending terrorists. The idea that it is pointless to search respectable looking white women ignores history. on 9 november 2005 muriel degauque, a white belgian woman from charleroi who converted
to Islam, committed a suicide car bomb attack against a U.S. military convoy near baghdad. There are numerous other examples of suicide bombers who do not fit the Islamic terrorist profile, and no doubt there would be more if it was known that black and asian men were much more likely to be searched. even if there were evidence that directing anti-terrorism laws disproportionately against one ethnic group led to more convictions for terrorism offences - which there is not the negative effect on community relations undermines intelligence gathering, creates massive resentment and ultimately stands to jeopardise public safety. The most serious riots in the Uk in recent history occurred, in part, because of the discriminatory application of the ‘sus law’ which effectively permitted the police to stop and search and even arrest anyone they chose, on the basis of an unacceptably vague suspicion. racial profiling is not a necessary evil to keep us safe; it is an unlawful, unfair and counterproductive reaction to a threat that can be addressed far more effectively in other ways. This article was originally written for an online debate on ethnic profiling held by Runnymede in February 2010. Read more submissions at runnymedetrust.org/ethnic-profiling
although some of the judges who heard the case in the house of lords were apparently unconcerned about the idea of using ethnic origin as one factor which (when taken with others) might justify a search, their attempt to circumvent the plain meaning of direct discrimination under the race relations act 1976 is unconvincing. The echr, by contrast, gave no support whatsoever to the practice of racial profiling in this context. In its ruling in January 2010 the court took particular note of the statistics
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Accountability is key
lord carlile Qc has been an independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for the government since 2001. Below he outlines his expectations on how UK stop and search laws and practice could go forward
critical national infrastructure, for example, a power station. The third is to protect iconic buildings and events, for example 10 downing Street or the Fa cup Final. I believe that the first of these is the least controversial, and that the others are politically deliverable, especially in the benign segment of the legislative cycle that usually follows shortly after a general election. might be, I would suggestion that it should have a new process, in order to ensure consistency of principle in its application, and a proper degree of accountability. The latter could involve an amendment to the role of the Independent reviewer, or some other transparent form of accountability. The important thing, whether section 44 remains or not, is that its use should be predictable of principle, free of arbitrariness, accountable as to its use, and proportionate in all respects. There should be no more stopping of some people merely because of appearance, no more stopping of others merely to balance
The echr ruling made in January 2010 found section 44 of the Terrorism act 2000 to be in breach of the right to respect for private
oncerning the recent ruling against the stop and search powers held under terrorism laws, there is now the question of the appeal the Uk government has said it will take to the Grand chamber of the european court of human rights. There are two hurdles here: first, permission to appeal must be obtained; and, secondly, if this permission is granted, the government has to argue the appeal itself. many informed observers believe that the appeal process will obtain extra time before implementation, rather than a positive result. however, it is worth recording that much has changed over the past couple of years. as an independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, I routinely see all the section 44 authorisation requests and associated papers. Today fewer police forces are applying for or using the section. as has been made public, the metropolitan Police are deploying the power in selected areas rather than the whole force. The number of searches is much reduced compared to the figure six months ago, though still a very high number. discussion continues as to the future of the power. Is the power or something like it needed at all? In my view there are three circumstances only in which it is justifiable, and possibly a sensible necessity. The first, and most obvious, is where a critical incident occurs, for example, a terrorist event or intense police activity founded on suspicion of an immediate or impending event. The second is to protect
the new law should have consistency of principle in its application, with a proper degree of accountability
and family life, article 8 of the european convention on human rights. The court found the act to be disproportionate, and containing a clear risk of arbitrariness in the decisions of individual police officers to stop and search without suspicion. The law, said the echr, was not adequately accessible and foreseeable; that is, it was not formulated with sufficient precision to enable the individual to regulate his or her conduct. The court noted the extensive use of the stop and search powers, more than 117,000 incidents in 2007-8, and compared it with the absence of any consequent arrests for terrorism-related offences. where does all this leave section 44? If the echr ruling is not appealed successfully, then in due course the government will have to amend the law, probably by repeal of section 44 and replacement with something echr-compatible. whatever that new law the racial statistics, and a clear understanding of the exceptional nature of the power to stop any person without reasonable suspicion that he or she has committed a crime.
A mature debate
If we are to approach this serious issue in an informed and mature debate, everyone concerned has to put aside prejudice, whether authoritarian or libertarian. The issue of national security is sometimes obscure shorthand for the safety of every individual as we go about our daily lives. It is a necessity that we approach it on the merits, and without allowing political advantage to fog our conclusions. I welcome the opportunity to inform the debate. Visit runnymedetrust.org/ethnic-profiling to read comments and responses by leading politicians. Runnymede is publishing a full ethnic profiling report at the end of May 2010.
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As the financial downturn puts the standard theory of economics under scrutiny, omar Khan looks at the pros and cons of an alternative
think will ‘maximise our utility’ into rank order, and to make choices on that basis. according to behaviouralists, this description - sometimes called homo economicus – is widely contradicted by how people actually behave in the world. rather than always acting to maximise our wellbeing, we tend to use ‘rules of thumb’ in deciding how to act; we also seem more concerned with avoiding losses than maximising gains. but if the behavioural vision of humankind seems more realistic, it also depicts us as somewhat lazy creatures unable to change our attitudes or behaviour even when our actions have previously led to bad outcomes - and even when we are provided with further information or education. a less benign summary of behavioural economics is that it replaces the unrealistic homo economicus with the unattractive homo homer Simpsonus.
Implications for policy
why does this all matter for policymakers? as the interest in Nudge and other books suggests, policymakers increasingly assume a less heroic vision of human behaviour – especially regarding the limits of rationality – and design policies to take this into account. So, for example, citizens may be required to ‘opt out’ of organ donation rather than ‘opt in’. This is because while few people have moral or other objections to donating their organs, many fail to opt in and declare themselves donors. The idea that people should be ‘autoenrolled’ into a pension is another policy design derived from findings from behavioural economics. From the perspective of race equality, a few questions arise. First is whether all people - and all groups - exhibit the same kinds of behaviour. among most mainstream economists, all human beings were assumed to be rational choosers, and in fact ordered their likes and dislikes in a systematic and consistent order. while behaviouralists instead suggest a less calculating and unswerving human actor, they don’t often explain whether any particular kind of behaviour is more likely to guide action, nor indeed whether all of us behave in the same ways.
Photo: Nina Kelly
he financial crisis has not only undermined people’s trust in banks and bankers, it has also led to deeper questioning of economic thinking. If more complicated financial products, such as credit default swaps, are now more widely discussed and questioned, so too are claims that markets are always efficient, or that human beings are unerringly rational.
the popularity of the book Nudge, with one of the authors - cass Sunstein - appointed as an adviser to the obama administration, and the other - richard Thaler - working with the conservatives in the Uk (see article with George osborne in the Guardian, 28 Jan 2010). To understand the ‘behavioural’ critique, it is first necessary to explain a few features of standard - or neoclassical - economics. Perhaps the key premise of standard economic theory is that individuals are rational ‘selfmaximisers’. This means that people choose a particular course of action that most benefits them. different people may have different ways of determining what matters to them, but all of us are able to put everything we
In fact, what most people think of as standard economics has been challenged for some time by ‘behavioural economics’. This school of thought has been given recent prominence by
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There are good reasons to expect people to behave in different ways. In the first instance, people face a difference set of choices in the world, and so will of course respond differently to those choices. For example, the interest rates that many low income people pay for credit, or the fact that so few people living in council accommodation have contents insurance, may seem irrational to better-off people. however poorer people are typically obliged to pay more for a variety of goods and services
develop different targeted policies. There is sometimes a debate about whether either universal or targeted policies are better on efficiency or equity grounds. For example, child benefit is a universal benefit, which
follow it - for example by paying more taxes to finance needed services. behavioural economics may seem to assume away any moral or political disagreement. as
the effect of discrimination
discrimination can also lead people to behave differently. whether people choose to opt out of mainstream institutions, or feel less selfworth because of discriminatory experiences in the past, they may ‘behave’ differently as a result. evidence also suggests that certain groups have different attitudes towards risk, including men and women, a finding that has led some to wonder whether more women in the city would lead to less risk-taking and greater financial stability. among some ethnic groups, there may be cultural or religious practices that either forbid or recommend certain activities, which will then of course affect their decision-making and behaviour. If this story of differential behaviour is true, the policymaker faces even more difficult questions. he or she cannot simply universally design policies to ‘nudge’ people in a particular direction, as people will react to those nudges in different ways. In our research at runnymede, we have found different attitudes to financial products and institutions, including in areas such as pensions and savings, but also in terms of school choice.
We are often more concerned with avoiding losses than we are with maximising gains
makes it less costly to administer and it is viewed more as a citizen entitlement; the same may be said of the child Trust Fund. on the other hand, sometimes policies need to be targeted at those who are most in need, such as winter fuel payments for older people. whether or not policymakers would need to amend their ‘nudges’ for different behavioural patterns is therefore a difficult issue that in part depends on the intended benefits of the policy, and in part on the political challenges in delivering it. a result, from what is understood in policyoriented books such as Nudge, behavioural economics can appear to devolve all decisions to civil servants and policymakers. This is a dissatisfying ideal in principle, but also in practice, where people are increasingly disengaged from the political process and have low faith in politicians and other officials. In this sense behavioural economics is not so dissimilar from some neoclassical accounts. For example, Friedrich von hayek thought that the market is an appropriate way of determining price and allocating goods because the market mechanism doesn’t endorse any particular moral view. In fact, hayek took the problem of moral disagreement very seriously, and endorsed the market precisely because he thought it impossible to provide a solution to moral disagreement. whether or not we agree with hayek’s proposed solution, we need to explain how citizens can resolve some of these conflicts in a non-violent way, and behavioural economics provides no more guide than neoclassical economics in how to do so. behavioural economics continues to make important strides in understanding the sometimes flawed and inconsistent ways that human beings make decisions. It also helps us to understand how we might better ‘incentivise’ people to make decisions that are in their interest, and that lead to better outcomes for all of us. Yet we still have some way to go to understand fully how people’s experience and background affect their decision-making, and if groups including black and minority ethnic (bme) people have different decision-making processes. In any case, we should all continue to engage as best we can in important social and political institutions, and hold out the hope that people can learn from their errors and make the world a more just place. engaged political participation not only involves learning to deal with real disagreement, but being open to changing one’s mind, and ultimately one’s behaviour.
the role of politics
There are in fact further problems for seeing policy as a method for nudging people to a particular decision. most notably, this approach assumes that someone, typically government, knows the best course of action; that such decisions are politically uncontroversial; and that policymakers know the best way of achieving those options. In fact, policy aims are often controversial, and uncertainty and unexpected consequences can bedevil the cleverest civil servant.
Discrimination can lead people to behave differently, perhaps opting out of mainstream institutions
These behaviours may in fact be quite rational, leaving it an open question as to how far we need behavioural economics to understand different choices in the world. That is, different people have different options in life (or ‘choice architecture’ in economic jargon), and so maximizing the utility of choices for one person may lead to a different course of action than it would for someone else. one possible upshot of different behavioural patterns is that policymakers will have to on the other hand, sometimes it is obvious that there is a right course of action, but that it goes against (most) people’s intuitions or standard behaviour. anti-discrimination legislation was far from popular, and has resulted in many people fundamentally changing their attitudes towards people of different ethnic backgrounds. Should we really never aim to change people’s behaviour and attitudes? Furthermore, sometimes we do know the right course of action, but people are unwilling to make sacrifices in order to
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Black dads in the spotlight
David lammy gave a speech on black fatherhood at a Runnymede event, as Vicki Butler reports
ormer higher education minister david lammy mP delivered a speech on black fatherhood to a packed house of commons committee room, as part of the runnymede Platform series.
The event, held on the monday after mothers’ day, also served as the launch for a 5-minute video about fatherhood made by lammy and Femi oyeniran, star of the films kidulthood and adulthood. chaired by journalist lawrence lartey, the discussion panel included oyeniran, rapper Tinie Tempah, actor and playwright kwame kwei-armah and dr Tracey reynolds of london South bank University. In his speech, lammy called for a more active form of fatherhood in the black community. he argued that a renewed focus on fathers would help tackle some of the challenges facing young black men especially, such as educational under-achievement, disproportionate exclusion levels and high crime rates. lammy also called for fathers from all backgrounds to remain in touch with their children whatever the relationship with the childrens’ mothers. he said: “between a quarter and a third of children with separated parents have little to no contact with their fathers. It is not just the structure of families that matters. It is whether fathers continue to contribute to their children’s lives.” arguing that modern fatherhood needs updating from the traditional model, he added: “The ‘provider-protector’ version [of fatherhood] is in our comfort zone, but what young people also need today is an emotional bond with their father.” The speech received good feedback from an audience made up of representatives from the race equality, fatherhood and community
Photo: Vijay Jethwa
David lammy MP speaks to a committee room filled with people, many of whom were black fathers themselves
sectors, as well as civil servants, academics and policymakers. organisations represented at the event included barnado’s, the reach project, the race equality Foundation, 100 black men of london and the Young Fathers Initiative. Points raised in the discussion following the speech focused on how community organisations can build on the suggestions made by lammy. Panellist Femi oyeniran called for more education for young black fathers and urged successful black men to become more involved in their local communities. he said: “we need to stop being commentators and become activists.” delia modeste of the black Training and enterprise Group (bTeG) highlighted the difficulty of gaining media coverage for good role models such as those in the reach project, adding that the media is often reluctant to cover positive news stories. nia Imara of the national association of black Supplementary Schools (nabSS) highlighted the benefits of black supplementary schooling for young people, while Patrick clarke of mighty men of Valour emphasised the need for community organisations to work together on the issue of fatherhood and role models. echoing clarke’s remarks, dean atta of Silence is Golden called for the event to be repeated on a larger scale, which we at runnymede have duly noted and are working on organising for the summer. The five-minute video that was screened at the event features discussions with men from the black community about their experiences of fatherhood and their relationships with their own dads. among those sharing their wisdom is veteran news presenter Sir Trevor mcdonald, who believes he owes much to his father, who pressed the importance of “not letting yourself down by not doing as well as you could.”
Photo: Vijay Jethwa
Actor and playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah greets film director Darwood Grace
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Are you passionate about race equality? Do you want to increase your connections and challenge racism?
Runnymede 360° is a new national network connecting aspiring and established leaders in race equality. By joining the network you would increase your knowledge base, improve your professional skills, and make contacts that may help you in your work, while also contributing to challenging racism. Being part of Runnymede 360° will enable members to: • have the opportunity to raise their profile • share their experience and learn from others • create partnerships across regions and sectors for future work • have early access to Runnymede’s work and events • have access to the latest policy developments related to race equality Runnymede draws on over forty years’ experience providing research intelligence, policy influence, and partnership building in order to promote a successful multi-ethnic Britain. The aim of Runnymede 360° is to bring together the most passionate and innovative thinkers and actors in race equality from all sectors, backgrounds and regions of the UK. The network meets monthly at seminars, e-conferences and receptions. It also has an online discussion space to keep up with the latest current events and policy developments on race equality. The ideal candidate will: • have been working in private, public or voluntary sectors for a minimum period of five years • have an understanding of the policy and practice landscape on national and/or local levels • have the ability to apply their knowledge, creativity and experience to their commitment to race equality, equal opportunities and social justice • be committed to the network for at least two years during which they will be expected to contribute to the Runnymede Bulletin, attend Runnymede 360° on/offline events, and participate in the Runnymede 360° social networking space Most importantly, the Runnymede 360° member will have something to say and will want to say it. Why not apply to join? The deadline for applications is 21 June 2010 for interviews taking place in July in the cities of London, Leeds and Cambridge. For more information on current members and details on how to apply go to: www.runnymedetrust.org/360net
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A VIEW FRoM... FRANcE
Race equality campaigner Rokhaya Diallo gives an insider’s view on race relations in France. She is president of les Indivisibles, a group of activists who use humour to deconstruct racial prejudice against non-white French people
very expression, and is used to exclude the visibility of certain religious practices. This particular group of French citizens, constantly referred to as people ‘of migrant background’, even when their families have been in the country for generations, are therefore confronted with a cruel paradox. They have to go the extra mile to show that they somehow deserve to be
ecently in France, we have seen a worrying trend emerge in political discussion, prompted by a debate on national identity initiated by the French government. although the proportion of foreign people living in France has not increased since 1981, the perception of migration as a threat is still overwhelming in French society. many
Perceived as foreigners, we must constantly answer the question, ‘where are you from?’
children of immigrants have now grown up as French citizens and their more visible presence has led to some entertaining the illusion of a growing number of foreigners on French soil. This is not the case, of course, as a large proportion of those judged to be from elsewhere on the basis of their skin colour are, in fact, French. French, while at the same time having to hide any sign, particularly religious ones, that might challenge their belonging to the nation. Perceived as foreigners, they have to constantly answer suspicious questions, the most common one being ‘where do you come from ?’, as if they had just arrived from some exotic location in a faraway land. The suspicion is such that a ministry for Immigration, Integration and national
national community, and must therefore seek to find one. Unfortunately, not enough people consider that it is also the responsibility of the French republic itself to finally accept and recognise all its citizens and to ‘integrate’ the truly multicultural element of its national character into its self-identification.
Integration is a two-way process
This understanding that sees integration as a two-way process is essential in any debate about national identity if we want to end this long-standing division, which still leads to different citizenship rights for French people depending on their ethnic or national origin. This is why we have set up a call for a multicultural and Post-racial France bringing
Who are the ‘real’ French?
The current debate on national identity places an obsessional demand on these citizens: they should work hard to be accepted, and need to ‘integrate’. This discourse assumes that our society is divided between on the one hand the ‘true’ French, whose integration is never questioned, and on the other, those French people, suspected of being foreign, and whose French identity is not de facto recognised because it is challenged by their ‘hard to pronounce’ names, their brown faces or their cultural practices, which are considered too visible. The concept of ‘laïcité’, a notion initially created to allow for the expression of all religious beliefs has now become a pretext to forbid that
Debates on national identity must see integration as a two-way process
Identity was set up, with the apparent mission of detecting ‘good’ versus ‘bad’ French citizens. Its head is in charge of ensuring that immigrants and their children (or grandchildren) do not threaten our precious national identity. The onus is therefore placed on them - they have to integrate. together 100 key personalities from different areas of French social and political life, who each made a concrete recommendation to lead to an inclusive society, free from racism. Translated from French by Sarah Isal. If you would like to learn more about Rokhaya Diallo and Les Indivisibles - including what the ‘key personalities’ had to say - visit the organisation’s website: lesindivisibles.fr
No room for non-white people?
The implicit message is that some nonwhite people currently have no place in our
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Photo: Alexis Peskine
A VIEW FRoM... PARlIAMENt
Providing the link between the race equality sector and Westminster, Runnymede’s new phase of parliamentary work took off at the beginning of the year. Vicki Butler, our public affairs officer, has all the details.
n exciting new element of runnymede’s parliamentary work is our Platform programme. It was launched with the aim of creating a space for senior political figures of all parties to discuss issues around race equality with critical comment from the academic community. The programme’s goal is to encourage grown-up debate on tackling racism, as all too often political discussion of such issues descends into point-scoring, without getting to the heart of the issues.
conservative frontbencher dominic Grieve mP kickstarted Platform with his paper Conservatism and Community Cohesion. The full publication included responses from lord bhikhu Parekh, chair of the runnymede commission on the Future of multi-ethnic britain; Professor montserrat Guibernau of the Queen mary University of london; Professor ludi Simpson of the cathie marsh centre of census and Survey research at the University of manchester; and Professor Shamit Saggar of the University of Sussex. Grieve argues that a british bill of rights should be introduced to help achieve national unity and suggests that the teaching of national history can help cement core common values. Placing community cohesion in a human rights framework, Grieve’s paper in particular criticises the dna database and the introduction of 28 days’ detention without charge. he also dismisses multiculturalism as being divisive and over-reliant on the intervention of the state, adding that this leads to political correctness. The second paper in our series was written by liberal democrat mP lynne Featherstone, and included responses from academics, such as Professor harry Goulbourne of london South bank University and dr claire alexander of the london School of economics and Political Science. Following recent government research into job application discrimination, in Featherstone’s paper Race Equality and the Liberal Democrats she calls for the
introduction of a ‘name blank’ application policy to remove bias in the process of deciding job applications. Featherstone also argues that those discriminated against should be represented as a group by trade unions or the equality and human rights commission. Finally, labour mP John denham wrote Labour and Cohesive Communities, the third in our Platform series, which included responses from Professors derek mcGhee, University of Southampton; mary J hickman, london metropolitan University; and chris Gaine, University of chichester. echoing comments made in his controversial speech at the start of the year, denham’s paper calls for a renewed focus on class in britain and argues that while the growing self confidence of minority communities is a positive thing, it can be seen as a threat to communities under pressure. he also states that although it is still important to fight racism and discrimination, a more nuanced approach is needed to understand how race interacts with other social factors. alongside the publications we also held a number of events as part of the Platform
series, including parliamentary seminars on Grieve’s and Featherstone’s papers. In addition, higher education minister david lammy mP gave a speech on black fatherhood as part of runnymede Platform (see page 23). runnymede Platform will continue in the next parliament, with a collection of essays by Scottish mSPs planned for publication in the summer. Further speeches and papers from westminster are planned throughout the year. Visit the runnymedetrust.org/platform to keep updated on future projects, as well as to download all three reports for free.
our new blog - the runnymede westminster monitor - provides a daily update of all coverage of race equality issues within the westminster village, pulling together all government and opposition announcements, parliamentary debates and developments in whitehall. Since the blog’s launch at the beginning of march 2010 we have already covered many parliamentary developments, including mPs’ criticisms of the equality and human
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Photo: Vijay Jethwa
rights commission (ehrc), immigration announcements and select committee reports into the dna database and, of course, the general election. The blog will also include some opinion pieces. we recently criticised a call from the government to make use of aSbos to tackle antisocial behaviour “explicitly associated with Gypsies and Travellers” and analysed alistair darling’s budget in relation to its potential impact on bme people. we want the runnymede westminster monitor to help raise awareness of how race is discussed in westminster and we hope that others in the race equality sector will use it as a resource to keep up-to-date on developments, as well as the starting point for campaigns in parliament. read the latest post at runnymedetrust.org/parliamentary-blog.
local politicians at the Norfolk United debate in Norwich
we held the first in our series of regional race equality Question Time-style events in February, focusing on norfolk. held in the heart of norwich city centre, our panel was chaired by bbc journalist clive lewis and included former home secretary charles clarke. liberal democrat mP norman lamb, conservative councillor antony little, Green Party councillor Samir Jeraj and community activist Gita Prasad completed the panel for the debate, which was co-organised by runnymede in conjunction with the norwich and norfolk race equality council (nnrec). The panellists - all local politicians and activists - tackled questions on issues such as educational achievement, the recent Swiss ban of the building of minarets, stop and search policies, and parliamentary representation of ethnic minorities. charles clarke in particular received a grilling on policies introduced during his tenure as home secretary, while antony little highlighted the conservative Party’s progress in selecting bme parliamentary candidates. In addition, clarke and nnrec council member Gita Prasad went head to head on the issue of the veil, with Prasad defending it as a symbol of religious expression and clarke expressing concern surrounding its use in classrooms and courtrooms.
norman lamb mP argued that the presence of more bme players in local football club norwich city has helped to increase tolerance in the area and councillor Samir Jeraj highlighted improved social housing as one way to help decrease race inequalities. encouragingly, there was a great deal of consensus on the panel that it is still important to improve race equality and tackle racism. To watch the discussion, visit our website to watch a 5-minute video of highlights of the debate made by local community organisation cmedia. runnymede plans to hold further regional events throughout the year, with the next planned in the South west. keep an eye on our website for further details.
several members of the conservative Party. a number of liberal democrat parliamentarians also expressed interest in becoming involved in the group’s future activities. discussion at the event centred on issues such as the government’s race equality strategy; the impact of counter-terrorism measures on bme communities; and the threat of the far right. For more information on our parliamentary work and upcoming events please visit runnymedetrust.org/parliament.
Baroness Howells speaks at the meeting to establish a Race and community APPG
APPG on race and community
runnymede is currently working to reestablish the all Party Parliamentary Group (aPPG) on race and community. we believe that a functioning and active aPPG in parliament is essential in providing parliamentarians with access to top-level discussion on race equality. we took the first steps to re-establish the group in January this year by holding a meeting in the house of commons. The event was chaired by diane abbott mP and attended by baroness howells and baroness whitaker, as well as
Photo: Vijay Jethwa
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Photo: Vijay Jethwa
cHAIR oF oFStED
Zenna Atkins, chair of ofsted
Zenna Atkins is chair of ofsted, the body responsible for inspecting the standards of schools in England. Zenna is also a successful social entrepreneur; in 2000 she won Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year South Region and in 2003 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of laws from Portsmouth University. Zenna’s own unconventional route to success has strengthened her belief in the role of education in improving life chances. She tells Runnymede about her position at ofsted and why race equality is integral to the organisation’s ethos.
How did your own experience of schooling push you to get involved with ofsted?
I’m a self-confessed school failure; I left school at 16 with almost no qualifications. I really struggled - reading and writing did not come easily to me and that affected me across all subjects. this was because I have dyslexia. In those days, and I’m referring to the 1970s, there wasn’t the support there is today and I was seen by many teachers as a ‘slow learner’. You can imagine what happened to my confidence. However, I soon came to realise the difference a good teacher can make to a child’s learning and self-confidence, and the importance of teachers recognising those things that might hinder a child’s learning and finding ways of overcoming them. Basically, it is the knowledge that a good school can shape a child’s life chances. I sometimes hear adults say to young people, ‘You are so lucky to go to a good school’. luck should not come into it. It should be every child’s right to go to a good school. Working as the chair of its non-executive board gives me an opportunity to help ofsted in its role as an inspection and regulation body.
What role do you believe education has in achieving equality for all children in the UK?
Quite simply, a highly important one. this has two sides to it. the first relates to how well children achieve at school. We know from test and exam results over several years that there are groups of children that persistently underachieve in relation to their peers. For instance, the proportion of black caribbean pupils that achieve five or more GcSE grade c passes or higher is around half that of the national average. the gap is closing but it remains unacceptably wide. Why does that matter? It matters because the levels of skills and knowledge that youngsters have when they leave school have a direct impact on their life chances. How can you compete in the workplace if others have far higher qualifications? the second side relates to how effectively schools and other education providers help young people develop positive attitudes to equality and learn to value and appreciate the diversity of the society in which they live. Schools have a really important role, as do families, in being communities that model high quality practice in relation to equalities; children develop their attitudes and their behaviour in relation to all sorts of things from the communities in which they live and learn.
What does your role as chair entail?
together with the other eight directors, I am responsible for setting the strategic priorities, targets and objectives for ofsted, and for ensuring the chief inspector’s functions are performed efficiently and effectively. We are required to encourage improvement, the development of a user focus and the efficient and effective use of resources within the services that ofsted inspects and regulates. We must also have regard to: the need to safeguard and promote the rights and welfare of children; the views and satisfaction of children, parents and employers; the need to ensure that ofsted inspection and regulatory action is proportionate; and any developments in approaches to inspection or regulatory action. that’s a big job, and one I am extremely proud to play a part in.
How does ofsted work to promote race equality as an employer?
We have had a race equality policy, alongside other equality policies that we are drawing together to form a single equalities scheme. this guides all our practices as an employer and as an inspector and regulator. For instance, in our role as an employer,
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our recruitment and selection policy states that, where possible, selection panels will be representative in terms of race and gender, and we monitor the ethnicity of job applicants right through to appointment. For your readers who like numbers, 11 per cent of ofsted staff are from minority ethnic backgrounds, compared with the civil service average of 9 per cent. We have a career development programme for anyone who considers they are disabled at work or who is from a minority ethnic group. the programme aims to develop a joint understanding of the skills and advice participants need to progress their careers. Another positive action that is very successful is the Black leadership Initiative. this scheme enables more minority ethnic staff from schools and colleges to develop the skills and confidence to apply for promotion within their sectors or consider becoming an ofsted inspector. As a result, ofsted was nominated for an Innovation Award at last year’s civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards.
data, it might miss the fact that there are a disproportionate numbers of minority ethnic pupils being excluded, for example. If a school is not listening to its pupils, it might not pick up if there are racial incidents that go unreported. Schools that address race equality issues well are almost certain to have their ‘fingers on the pulse’ and know very clearly what issues they face. let me put this into perspective. last year the chief inspector’s annual report to parliament included the statistic that 1 per cent of primary and special schools and 2 per cent of secondary schools (inspected in 2008/09) were judged inadequate in the way that they promoted equality of opportunity and tackled discrimination. that means that almost all of them were at least satisfactory in this respect – but that doesn’t mean that schools shouldn’t ‘up their game’; there is always room for improvement.
can you tell us about ofsted’s RAISEonline project? How has ofsted changed its inspection model to place greater emphasis on race equality?
ofsted has been very responsive to feedback on how to make the school inspection framework more effective and more helpful to schools in identifying how they can make better provision for pupils and students. the launch of the new school inspection framework last September was preceded by a year’s worth of trials and a wide-ranging consultation. one of the improvements we made was to raise the profile of equalities in school inspection. Inspectors now give greater emphasis to the achievement of different groups of pupils. For instance, good GcSE results overall might mask underachievement by a group of pupils. Significantly, if a school is judged to be inadequate on the way it tackles inequalities and promotes equality of opportunity, or in how well pupils achieve, it is very likely to be judged inadequate overall. that raises the bar for schools in this area and is a clear message that every child really does matter. this stands for Reporting and Analysis for Improvement through Self-Evaluation. RAISEonline is a data analysis tool for use by schools, local authorities, school improvement partners (SIPs) and ofsted inspectors. It takes a school’s performance in test and examination results over several years and sets them in context, for example, by comparing them to national averages and how these have changed over time. It takes account of the context of the school in terms of, for instance, gender, free school meals, special educational needs and/or disabilities and ethnicity in measuring the ‘contextual value added’ progress (cVA). this indicates how much progress pupils have made, given their starting points and progress made in similar schools. Importantly, RAISEonline breaks the results down by different pupil groups so that the progress made by, say, Asian pupils can be examined. this enables inspectors to identify, in discussion with the headteacher, what might be ‘inspection trails’ to follow while visiting the school. RAISEonline does not take the place of first-hand inspection evidence gained from seeing pupils’ books, observing lessons, looking at schools’ assessment records and, vitally, talking to pupils about what they are learning.
What led to this increased focus on race equality?
Race equality has a greater national profile, which the Stephen lawrence inquiry did much to raise. Since schools have statutory responsibilities in the area of race equality, it is important that ofsted keeps its expectations high about how effectively schools promote race equality and prevent discrimination.
Has ofsted conducted surveys on race equality?
All our surveys have an equalities thread running through them, but we conducted a survey specifically on race equality in education in 2005. It covered four main areas: standards and achievement among groups of pupils; the incorporation of race equality concepts into the curriculum; the handling and management of racial incidents; and the work of schools and local authorities in improving links with local minority ethnic communities. the full results of the survey can be found at ofsted.gov.uk
What tend to be the areas of weakness in schools that are struggling to tackle race equality?
Where this happens, it is often to do with a school’s lack of monitoring of the achievements and personal development of different ethnic groups. If a school does not know how well these groups of pupils are doing, it is not in a good position to identify positive action that will help close gaps and to improve outcomes for them. If a school is not monitoring its exclusion
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How will the expected cuts in the government’s education budget affect your sector?
chief executive, higher education thinktank Million Plus
Headteacher, lilian Bayliss technology School
children and Young People Services, Waltham Forest
Principal officer, National children’s Bureau
Some universities have argued that the sector will be set back hundreds of years; this claim has been roundly rebuffed. It is also true that some did not do so well in a recent research assessment and so lost money to other universities that performed better. Much more worrying are figures suggesting that there are likely to be more university applications than funded places this year. the government has recognised the problem and made funding available for 20,000 additional places in 2010. this may not fill the gap, but it has ensured that more students than ever before can get to university. there is still a risk that some qualified young people or those hoping to refocus their careers by studying will be turned away. Worryingly some parties are suggesting that even more cuts are needed in education. Yes, there is a need to reduce public borrowing, but it should not be done at the expense of those who want to improve their lifechances by studying at university.
A fall in funding will have a huge impact on what secondary schools can offer their students. High achievers will go into larger classes with cheaper teachers, such as those trained overseas. the impact will be higher dropout rates in a group that rarely has drop-outs. those in the middle ground will continue to benefit from changes brought in over the last ten years, including one-to-one tuition, smaller classes and the best teachers. In this way schools will ensure that pass rates stay high. While the ‘not possibles’ at the bottom of the class - unless statemented, which brings in funding - will be forgotten. they will become disaffected earlier and drop out faster, increasing dependence on the Youth Service, the police, Social Services and the NHS. these agencies will see a huge uptake in demand, and yet nobody will track it back to where something could have been done about it.
the proposed reductions in public sector spending are both a threat and an opportunity. We have seen a decline of the community in recent years; the opportunity to re-open a debate about how we spend public money in order to build solidarity and reconnect people with each other and with politics should perhaps be welcomed. Within the education sector, we are seeing what might be described as a paradigm shift in school improvement. During the next three years there will be a move towards a self-sustaining system as schools take on more responsibility for their own improvement - and the resource to make it happen. Although the total resource may decline, there is an opportunity to move from a competitive system to a collaborative one, reconnecting teaching with pedagogy and the concept of improvement with a wider range of outcomes for children and young people.
Sure Start childrens centres, which the conservatives have pledged to cut, offer high-quality services to young families in economically deprived areas. Although an evaluation of delivery revealed patchy, inconsistent services to black and minority ethnic families, it was hoped that the next generation of children’s centres would be dynamic and accessible, enhancing every child’s early development and learning potential. Funding cuts could leave these aspirations floundering. An effective service needs qualified, motivated staff; skilled outreach services; possibly interpretation services; and a strong partnership with the local community. these things cost money, while their economic benefits may not be seen for some time. An excellent children’s centre has been set up that works with explicit guidance and expectations for equality. Should we cut corners on providing the firm foundations for children’s life-long potential?
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KEY FActS ABoUt... RAcE AND EDUcAtIoN
of UK headte ach from a black ers are a minority eth nd nic the intake of black and minority background ethnic (BME) students to oxford
1 2 3 4 5 6
and cambridge is 11.1% and 10.5% respectively, compared to the average of 16% for England as a whole
HESA student record 2007/2008
56.3% of graduates from black and minority ethnic backgrounds found employment within the first year after finishing their degree courses, compared to 60% of white graduates
Business in the community, 2007/2008
lewis Iwu, oxford University Student Union’s first black president
NASUWt teachers’ union
lewis Iwu was elected as president of oxford University’s Student Union in 2008, the first black incumbent
lewis Iwu was elected as the first black president of oxford University’s Student Union in 2008
Black prisoners make up 15% of the prisoner population in the UK; but only 5% of the university student population
HESA student record 2007/2008
A survey found that Asian caste discrimination is a problem in some British schools, with 10% of those traditionally members of ‘lower’ Asian caste backgrounds reporting caste discrimination by teachers.
It was decided in March 2010 that teachers will not be banned from their profession for being members of the BNP or other openly racist organisations
Anti caste Discrimination Alliance (Acda)
the number of first year degree students from BME backgrounds rose one percentage point to 19% between 2006 and 2008.
HESA student record
Although Britain’s ethnic minority population is 10.1%, only 1% of headteachers in British primary and secondary schools is of BME descent
NASUWt report 2009
the highest achieving group ethnic group in the UK is chinese Girls, who have a 91.4% pass rate at GcSE level
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Photo: courtesy of lewis Iwu
Four in five teachers of African descent and more that half of those from the caribbean diaspora report that they have been discriminated against in their teaching careers
BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
Roma speak for themselves
This book is a fresh and thought-provoking collection of academic essays. all essays challenge the non-roma dominated arena of roma studies and create a much-needed platform for roma, Gypsy and Traveller academics to debate roma issues. both renowned and lesser-known scholars create a dialogue that questions many established ideas about Gypsy, roma and Traveller communities. They re-examinine roma origins, the concept of Gypsy identity, and look at cases of contemporary prejudice and discrimination. around a diasporic ideology. he argues that exclusion and disenfranchisement from civil society have been persistent features in Gypsy existence together with fear of forced migration form key elements in Gypsy philosophy. belton challenges the stereotypical views imposed by non-roma of what a Gypsy is and does. he also criticises academics’ dependence on the written word to express the truth, rather than trusting oral evidence, which is something central to Gypsy heritage.
Good practice is highlighted in dr. adrian marsh’s evaluation of the project Promoting Roma (Gypsy) Rights in Turkey. This scheme has made significant progress in documenting the economic, social and cultural situation of different roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities in Turkey, and highlighting specific examples of discrimination and prejudice. Janet keet-black and michael wayne Jones mark the importance of the romany and Traveller Family history Society’s role in documenting family histories. This community-based society researches and documents personal histories creating legitimate documented evidence, which can often validate or discredit previously published research. The society is both national and international in order to reflect the migratory patterns of the Gypsy, roma and Traveller communities.
All change! Romani Studies through Romani Eyes
Edited by Damian le Bas and thomas Acton University of Hertfordshire Press, 2010 Book review by Annie Padwick
on the subject of origins, Professor Ian hancock uses linguistics to test the widely accepted belief that the roma community originates from India. hancock suggests that the roma people come from different Indian populations brought together in a military environment. he proposes that the romani language and roma identity was not developed in India, but formed gradually when the communities settled in europe around ad100. Valdemar kalinin continues the debate on origin with his discussion of the history of roma in russia. he also disputes the Indian origins of the roma, and suggests
the book raises the voice of Roma communities in the academic arena
that research in afghanistan, Iraq, Turkey, and armenia could prove fruitful in revealing further information about the origins of roma and Gypsy communities. damian le bas and dr. brian belton’s contributions are concerned with the concept of the Gypsy identity. le bas rejects origin as a marker of Gypsy identity and questions whether common identity can be formed
A voice from within
All Change! does not quite manage to find enough in common between the individual articles to form a fully unified and harmonious book. It does, however, contain a number of interesting pieces and offers access to a variety of noteworthy academic opinions from the roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities. All Change! opposes the accepted culture which debates and makes decisions about Gypsy, roma and Traveller communities without their consultation. It does this by raising the voice of these communities in the academic arena and adding new insight to existing research.
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Migrants making cities work
Global cities at Work
by Jane Wills, Kavita Datta, Yara Evans & Joanna Herbert. Pluto Press, 2010 Book review by camille Aznar
as nationalism reawakens in the face of the recession, this is a timely book. The research is a rare and critical window casting light on the life stories of foreign-born workers who find themselves part of london’s migrant division of labour. without these low-paid workers, the city would grind to a halt, yet the academic literature on the subject is surprisingly scarce. little is known about those who do such jobs, or the conditions in which they work. Global Cities at Work aims to fill this knowledge gap. The authors focus on five sectors of the low paid economy known to employ lots of migrants: cleaning; hospitality; domiciliary care; food processing and construction. although primarily aimed at the academic and policy arena, the clear organisation and
writing style used in Global Cities make it accessible to a wider audience, possibly serving as a rich insight into low-paid migrant labour for those interested in migration in general. The authors’ focus on london will provide the readers with a clear picture of the individual voices and experiences of the social and economic lives of foreign workers in the city. The book gives a comprehensive yet detailed account of the day-to-day life of these migrants, while arguing that the adoption of reforms such as a living wage principle would benefit both low-paid Uk born and migrant workers. The book broadens its argument into a general debate on the role of migrant labour in contemporary capitalism. what is recurrently brought to light from migrant workers’ narratives is the need for greater respect for the work they do. as one domestic worker from Ghana put it: “People are human beings and they have to be respected. we take dog and cat and put them in the house and treat them like human beings. Yet not other people.” by raising the level of debate on migrant labour Global Cities at Work offers a unique
insight into the larger migrant workforce that keeps the city functioning. It is also a valuable tool for policymakers and politicians currently involved in planning a way out of this lasting recession. It calls us to take a politically-informed geographical view of our urban labour markets and to tackle the issue of working poverty and its effects on both unemployment and community cohesion.
Not your average river dance
Ganga Nitya Vaahini
Malavika Sarukkai, South Bank centre, 9 April 2010
Dance review by Shireen Isal
highly celebrated dancer and choreographer malavika Sarukkai’s performance of the Ganga nitya Vaahini - eternal river - further proved her enormous talent of infusing the ancient classical dance form of bharata natyam with contemporary inspiration and sensibility. This skill represents a culmination of years of personal research and dedication. Taking the powerful theme of India’s sacred river Ganga, ‘a silent witness to the relentless cycle of birth and death, to the sacred and the profane, to purity and pollution’, and inspired by her love for the it, Sarukkai combined technical brilliance with a restrained yet intense depiction of emotions. From pathos, devotion, passion and tragedy to triumph, her dance was a
reflection of the Ganga’s journey through the Indian landscape, interpreted through Sarukkai’s own deeply spiritual and artistic experience. In order to take the beholder on this journey, Sarukkai used what has now become a hallmark of her talent: a unique exploration of space through the fundamental geometrical movements - the straight line, circle and diagonal - of bharata natyam. The performance was a supreme execution of a stunningly crafted and intensely spiritual chorographical ensemble, which extended the boundaries of the bharata natyam repertoire and placed her among the most enduring performers on the Indian dance scene. Sarukkai was effectively supported by neela Sukhanya Srinivasan (nattuvangam), murali Parthasarathy (vocal), Srilakshmi Venkataramani (violin) and Sukhi melepurath Sukumaran (percussion). The performance was presented with the support of association Sargam. The performance was summed up
by nasreen rehman, former trustee of runnymede, who thanked association Sargam for making it possible for those in the audience to experience such an “amazing performance”. She added: “malavika surpassed herself. I savoured every moment of her extraordinary journey, dancing through life and eternity as she transformed into a river and the cosmos.”
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Photo: Brian Slater
BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
the national culture of exclusion
In February 2010 runnymede held its first e-conference, which explored the relationship between race equality and school exclusions. despite decreases in the overall number of black and minority ethnic (bme) pupils excluded from schools, their number remains depressingly disproportionate. black caribbean pupils are still three times more likely to be permanently excluded than the school population as a whole. Parsons has been opposed to school exclusions in both a personal and professional capacity for the last 15 years. drawing from personal experiences as a school governor, friend and supporter of individuals and families who have experienced school exclusion, he is committed to challenging what he describes as the “national culture of exclusion”. he argues that the removal of pupils from school for a short or extended period of time is both individually and socially damaging. This is particularly the case when exclusions are disproportionately applied to certain ethnic and socio-economic groups. currently, literature focusing on school exclusion mainly concerns the management of behaviour in the school and classroom. In challenging this insular approach, this book emphasises the importance of community and collective responsibility in tackling exclusion. Parsons focuses on the organisational changes that are required at community level to combat the problem. exclusions often lead to tensions between school education and children’s social services. here it is shown how exclusions can be drastically reduced when local authorities and schools develop a positive working relationship. important similarities were unearthed from the research. For example, all three local authorities had additional types of provision for education other than at school. They also all had multi-agency teams which, among many things, acted as mediators with parents. It was clear that all three local authorities demonstrated considerable vigilance. This commitment was reflected not only in values and principles, but on a practical level in how resources and services were effectively utilised. The second, and main, component looks at how areas with high exclusion rates can transform their situation. The conclusion are based on an in-depth study of five local authorities with particularly high levels of exclusion. an essential element of this investigation involved talking to senior staff in schools, professionals and local politicians, as well as the young people and their families who had experienced exclusion first-hand. This chapter of the book deals with each local authority in turn, first addressing their exclusion profile and then their policies to reduce exclusion. Towards the end of the chapter is a section that deals with the experiences of pupils who have been excluded. Insights from discussions with young people allow the reader to relate more effectively to the issues raised. The final chapters work well to draw together the wealth of research presented. The research highlights the strategic role of local authorities in combating school exclusion. The local authority is described as a ‘key front-line driver’ and ‘change agent’ exercising ‘political, financial and… moral power’ among children’s services. Parsons concludes by setting out guidelines and recommendations for an inclusion agenda for local authorities. This book will be especially of interest to those working at a strategic level in schools and local authority children’s services departments. The study sets out potential obstacles and indicates a path for progression in tackling school exclusions. however, it is a shame that Parsons does not allude to racism in any great depth when in previous work he has claimed it to be such a pressing issue.
Strategic Alternatives to Exclusion from School
by carl Parsons trentham Books limited, 2009 Book review by Emma Breger
the components of the study
There are three components in this study. The first part explores how three local authorities with low exclusion rates have maintained these levels. This was achieved using a combination of methodologies including the analysis of existing data sets and interviews with local authority personnel. although the context of each local authority varied,
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BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
Reconciliation and rugby
as a huge rugby fan from northern Ireland, a country familiar with social division, I watched Invictus with multiple interests. based on a book by John carlin, the film charts the 1995 world cup victory of the South african rugby team – known as the Springboks - and nelson mandela’s vision of its importance for reconciliation in the post-apartheid era. Indeed, the iconic image of mandela, dressed in the team’s green and gold, presenting the glowing webb ellis trophy to Francois Pienaar, the team’s victorious captain, is one of my earliest rugby memories. Invictus unpacks the uncertainty and fear of post-apartheid, pre-world cup South africa. as a bus carrying the newly-elected president passes a rugby team of white afrikaners, the coach remarks: ‘It’s that terrorist mandela – remember this day, boys, as the day the country went to the dogs.’ This reflects how mandela (morgan Freeman), as a former prisoner, was viewed with suspicion and fear by white people. Indeed, Pienaar’s dad reflects the fear of how society will change now that the formerly oppressed have become leaders: ‘look at Zimbabwe – are we next? They will drive us into the sea.’ The film focuses its energy on mandela’s vision of how the Springboks could foster national healing and unity and his relationship with team captain Pienaar (matt damon), who represents the afrikaner community so associated with dominance and oppression in the minds of black people. the incomprehension of his closest political aides. he was also at odds with many in the black community. a black rugby committee’s desire to drop the team’s hated nickname reflects the desire to reclaim the team from the whites. mandela’s inspiration – that the Springboks should become a unifying force rather than shunned or aggressively annexed – is well dramatised. The film seems to be trying to be a number of things - an exploration of the man mandela, a sporting underdog story and a tale of tension, as portrayed by the various security operations that work to keep the president safe from threats. To an extent, these different aims dilute each other and it is difficult to tell which is the most important. The clear unifying theme, though, is reconciliation. as the black head of presidential security stomps into the president’s office to ask why his unit should work with the previous unit of afrikaners (who would have been the sharp end of much state repression of black people) he is challenged by the president: ‘reconciliation starts here; forgiveness starts here.’ Invictus falls into some very sentimental traps. Some of the songs in the musical score are, quite frankly, cheap schmaltz about unity. other parts of the soundtrack are very ‘lion king’ – stereotypically ‘african’ and overblown with emotion. This takes away from the story when it should be left to speak for itself. also, the slow-motion ticking of the final seconds of the world cup final and the image of the trophy being held aloft by white and black hands are tired devices. The word Invictus, meaning unconquerable, refers to a poem by william ernest henley. while very appropriate, the film is wrong to show mandela giving a copy of the poem to inspire Pienaar on the eve of the final – what he actually gave him was a copy of The Man in the Arena by Theodore roosevelt. It may seem picky to highlight this but given that Invictus is the film’s title and emotional motif, it is worth noting. overall the film is enlightening and inspiring, if a little sentimental. It certainly does enough to give depth and meaning to the famous and iconic images of mandela and Pienaar, black and white, new and old, celebrating victory together.
Directed by clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon Film review by Phil Mawhinney
A symbol of oppression
The film makes clear that the green and gold of the rugby team and the name ‘Springboks’ were symbols of hatred, representations of white rule. a poor black boy refuses to accept a Springbok jersey at a community centre for fear of being beaten up by other kids. during an early scene, black rugby fans cheer on england as they comprehensively thump a weary and limp Springbok side. This also serves as an important reminder that South africa at the time was not a feared rugby team. The notion of winning the world cup is scoffed at by various characters. Invictus shows why mandela believed that rugby mattered so much, often despite
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A city in transition
Hong Kong: Migrant lives, landscapes and Journeys
by caroline Knowles and Douglas Harper University of chicago Press, 2009 Book review by Vicki Butler
Since the british handover of hong kong to china in 1997 the city has seen a period of transition. From being one of the last relics of the british empire, hong kong has emerged as a vibrant and modern economic hub. hong kong has transformed into a multicultural melting pot, welcoming migrants from across the globe. meanwhile, over the past thirteen years large numbers of
british expatriates have returned to the Uk. Using the now reduced british expatriate community as its starting point, Hong Kong by caroline knowles and douglas harper provides a range of fascinating individual portraits of migrants across the british and South asian communities. It looks at the variety of reasons for migration to the city as well as the success of each individual group in integrating into the wider hong kong community. most notably, the book explores the migrant communities of the city in the form of a journey across the territories making up the Special administrative region (Sar)
of hong kong. Peppered with photographs and maps, the narrative device of a journey successfully highlights the varied locations of migrant settlement and activity across the Sar. The strength of this approach is that it helps to highlight not only the different versions of hong kong migrants’ experience, but also demonstrates the differing activity of subgroups - including professional, economic and cultural - within each migrant group. knowles and harper effectively highlight the privileged economic position of british migrants in comparison to other groups, while also emphasising their willingness to remain in an english speaking ‘expat bubble’. Those migrants from the Indian subcontinent and across asia however are, broadly speaking, fluent in cantonese and are thus able to participate more fully in hong kong life. with the residue of colonial life rapidly fading away this excellent book raises an important question mark over whether this cultural isolation will remain sustainable in the long term.
Best practice in integration
Europe’s Established and Emerging Immigrant communities
by carlton Howson and Momodou Sallah trentham Books, 2009 Book review by Jessica Mai Sims
This book contains a range of articles relating to diversity, integration and policy in the Uk and across the rest of europe. The articles came about as a result of a conference of the same name in 2007 and so, while in some ways relating to the title of the volume, they appear to be an eclectic mix in comparison to each other. The first half of the book focuses on europe. There are chapters dealing with asylum both broadly and specifically in the case of Somali refugees in Uk and denmark, for example. There is also particular focus given to the health and welfare of migrants and minority ethnic groups and there is a chapter dedicated to muslims across europe.
Perhaps the most interesting chapter in the euro-centric first half of the text is Simon dyson’s account of the history of sickle cell anaemia in europe and the associated assumptions of racial biology. connecting the issue to stereotyping, dyson draws an interesting link to how healthcare service providers, similarly to wider society, practise ethnic profiling based on notions of racial biology. while the second half of the book concerns itself primarily with the Uk, there are some case studies on young people in bosnia herzegovina. Shifting the focus to oldham, immigrant groups’ experiences of community cohesion are put under the spotlight. Similarly, the housing challenges for people in rural areas and for Gypsies and Travellers; the Somali and Polish migrants experiences of Uk police forces; and a policy analysis of race and class in higher education are all granted particular attention. of the topics covered in the latter half of
the text, the study on youth in post-conflict northern Ireland and bosnia herzegovina is perhaps the least expected choice for the volume due to its tenuous link to the first half of the book’s title. The assorted chapters in the book add up to interesting and varied reading. The only regret is that the case study chapters leave the reader wanting more. organisations dealing with policy interventions would find the book useful for its range of subjects in the field of integration.
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BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
Engaging with young Muslims
a website that comes highly recommended by users is called Young, Muslim & Citizen. It is a free online resource pack for parents, teachers and youth workers who interact professionally with young people of muslim background. The website is designed to complement both mosque-based education and citizenship education programmes in mainstream schools. Tying the camel uses a story to introduce the resource, which consists of 18 activities. These activities are organised across the four key areas, which are: identity and belonging; stories, incidents and experiences; rights and responsibilities; and news, views and commentary. The activities are designed to really get young people learning using a range of interactive formats, old and new. Take activity 17 for example. Young people visit a number the Planning Sessions navigation tab gives a wide range of information on different teaching and learning techniques, which can be applied alongside or independently of the activities on the website. The site is principally intended for young people from 13 to 18 years old, though some of the activities can be adapted to be used with younger and older people too. a strong feature of the site is that the activities do not have to be used in sequence, which means that they are great to dip into to create a course, module or even a one-off session. The glossary and lists of further reading and relevant websites in the appendices of Young, Muslim and Citizen make the site a really useful reference point for learning more about the british muslim identity and the relationships between muslims and non-muslims. The Secretariat of the Uk race and europe network (Ukren) has been working on this project since 2006. Ukren has increasingly been concerned with individuals and communities affected by discrimination, not only on grounds of ethnicity and race, but also on grounds of religion or belief. This project came out of a desire to engage with individuals and communities in ways that ensure their involvement in mainstream active citizenship. Preparations for the pack began with a roundtable discussion with people working with young muslims from across europe, and roundtable meetings with practitioners such as teachers and youth leaders from across britain. discussing themes for the content of the resource pack, their input was valuable in developing a set of activities that would address the themes of muslim identity and citizenship in interesting and innovative ways. after the draft pack was produced, it was introduced to a number of practitioners in cities across england and wales who were then asked to pilot the pack. anira khokhar from bristol muslim cultural Society said: “The pack has proved to be very useful with young people. They have been able to actively take parts in the workshops, and have been able to freely express themselves and take part in debates. The toolkit is a well researched and well developed way of involving young people in participating in open dialogue.” anira is just one of a number of teachers and youth workers who have found the pack helpful.
Young Muslim & citizen
www.youngmuslimcitizens.org.uk Review by Angela Nartey and Jessica Mai Sims
A nice feature of the site is that teaching experience is not assumed
of british muslim blogs and websites and say what they like and dislike about them. They then create scrapbooks with extracts and perhaps posters and wallcharts as well. Further, they write and submit comments. They may also create a blog on which they post their own reflections about current happenings. The website is user-friendly and well organised. an introduction to each activity gives a summary of the activity, a list of the benefits to be gained by young people and information on how to prepare, plus instructions. Some of the activities also have suggestions for continuation and followup exercises. Free handouts to accompany the activities can be downloaded, copied and distributed. a nice feature of the site is that extensive teaching experience is not assumed and
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BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
Much more than elephant dung
This exhibition is a wonderful insight into the creative mind of one of the most acclaimed british painters working today. born in manchester, chris ofili was raised a roman catholic by parents who emigrated from nigeria. his provocative aesthetic style consists of thematic combinations of art, craft and african voodoo with references to contemporary black urban culture, biblical themes and ancestral worship. Praised by critics and the public alike, ofili was the first black artist to win the coveted Turner Prize in 1998. many of ofili’s early works from the 90s are an exuberant manifestation of pure colour and energy. Using a multitude of materials, such as polyester resin, map pins, paper collage and his signature clumps of elephant dung, ofili displays a unique technical ability to create images that are as humorous as they are inventive. In Pimpin’ ain’t easy (1997) the artist takes as his inspiration the seedy nature of london’s king’s cross to produce an image of a penile erection with a clownlike face that seems to mock the scurrying crab-like forms made up of black celebrity male faces propped on top of pornographic pictures of splayed female legs. It is a selfmocking image that simultaneously satirises and celebrates urban black (and in particular, hip hop) culture. other paintings such as the psychedelic affrodizzia represent an affiliation with the black community through reference to pan-african heroes. In stark contrast to these playful works stands the deeply emotive no woman no cry (1998). depicted in the painting is doreen lawrence, mother of Stephen, the south london teenager who was murdered in a racist attack that triggered the 1997 inquiry. an image of maternal grief that transcends background and race, the piece evokes empathy on the part of the artist who was deeply moved by the dignity and strength shown by its subject in the face of public scrutiny. The dynamic tempo of the exhibition, created by the hyper-charged and ultraembellished canvases of the initial rooms, is drawn almost to a halt by the meditative space that is The Upper room. The visitor enters a darkened interior where 12 paintings are propped on balls of elephant dung leaning against two parallel walls. all show the same image of a monkey holding a chalice, as if in oblation to the shimmering vision that is the 13th image at the far end of the room. The room creates a sensory experience akin to the feeling of entering a sacred space. It is both beautiful and perplexing due to its strange amalgamation of christian symbolism (the last supper), hinduism and the occult. nearing the end of the exhibition, ofili’s most recent work shows a shift in the artist’s thematic choice and pictorial style, undoubtedly influenced by a visit, followed by a permanent move in 2005, to Trinidad. colour, glitter and texture are replaced by towering canvases of raw paint in graduating, midnight blues. The series, entitled blue rider, is grouped to create a mark rothko-esque chapel of dark, sombre hues that engulf the viewer into a brooding state. Images that are difficult to decipher of a deer strung up in a forest, figures on horseback and soldiers among foliage speak of a mysterious melancholic world. Similarly the last room, where biblical themes, folklore and nature take centre stage, further illustrates a brave gear change for an artist with ofili’s successful trademark style. This exhibition highlights ofili’s innate culture both as black and british artist. able to draw from amazingly disparate sources - from comic book heroes to blaxploitation films, he brings such intensity to the task at hand. This universality, coupled with technical ability and a sprinkling of humour, is perhaps key to understanding his mass appeal. capitalising on this, the Tate britain has come up with an innovative concept; to invite young, popular urban acts to perform in the gallery space and to voice their opinions on ofili’s artwork. an impressive line-up includes spoken word artists, comedians, dJs and grime mcs –Uk chart-topper Tinie Tempah. There has long been a struggle to address the common perception, particularly among young people, of galleries and museums as exclusive, academic, elite white middle class environments. and how better to tackle this deeply ingrained stereotype than with the work of an artist who himself breaks down barriers between so-called ‘high art’ and popular culture.
Photo: tate Britain
At the tate Britain, spring 2010 Art review by Elisa lapenna
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BooKS // FIlMS // SHoWS // EXHIBItIoNS
No documents; no future?
No Right to Dream
by Alice Bloch, Nando Sigona and Roger Zetter Paul Hamlyn Foundation, 2009 Book review by Kjartan Páll Sveinsson
conducting research on undocumented migrants is notoriously difficult. due to the sensitive nature of the subject and the vulnerability of research participants, fieldwork and writing up is an ethical minefield. as a result, the empirical picture of the lives of undocumented migrants in britain is patchy and incomplete. Yet a clear understanding of the challenges and achievements of their lives in the Uk is desperately needed. This book is therefore long overdue. The authors and researchers show an extraordinary sensitivity to the people who gave their testimonies. The rich life histories and fullness of the ethnography corresponds to what clifford Geertz calls ‘thick description’; the reader gets a real sense of what it means to
be an undocumented migrant in britain. The report covers many aspects of the lived realities of young undocumented migrants, ranging from social life and community networks to employment issues and coping strategies. Given the vulnerability of these individuals – and the discrimination, exploitation and violation of rights that they face on a day-to-day basis – it would be easy for the authors to fall into the trap of focusing exclusively on predicaments, which No Right to Dream skilfully avoids doing. The report’s great strength is that it highlights the agency of the young migrants while still emphasising the insecure and perilous positions they often find themselves in. The interviewees are portrayed as human beings rather than research subjects, which is something that qualitative research is not always able to achieve. The over-riding theme of the report is the uncertainty of life on the margins of society, captured well in the report title. The narratives are characterised by transience and only a vague notion of a future. In runnymede’s recent report Making a Contribution: New
Migrants and Belonging in Multi-ethnic Britain, we make the case that recent developments in immigration policy are corralling migrants from poorer countries into low-skilled and low-paid employment. No Right to Dream shows why this is so dangerous. The poor and marginalised in the world order become poor and marginalised within the british socio-economic hierarchy. No Right to Dream is an excellent report that all with an interest in migration should read.
Finding an escape route
Directed by lee Daniels, Gabourey Sidibe stars Film review by Annie Padwick
The title character, played by unknown actress Gabourey Sidibe, is an obese and illiterate teenager growing up in harlem in the 1980s. Physically and verbally abused by her mother and sexually abused by her father, by sixteen Precious has been twice pregnant with her father’s baby. The situation is grim and the scenes are harrowing but it is the silence with which Precious reacts that is particularly shocking. Instead of futile complaint, she survives the constant torrent of abuse through escapism, the camera cleverly cutting from brutal scenes to Precious imagining herself as a glamorous actress. In a severely economically deprived community, in which survival is dependent on state benefit and getting a job means working
for ‘some white people’, when a teacher tells Precious she has a talent for maths her mother accuses her of thinking she is “too good for the welfare”. amid the circles of low aspiration and poor self-esteem, Precious, who is a dark-skinned african american, would most like to be “really skinny, with light skin and long hair.” Precious is particularly intrigued by the ethnicity of her kindly social worker, miss weiss, who is convincingly played by mariah carey. Yet weiss is shown to be too weak to cope with the complexities of Precious’s case and when she finally breaks down Precious tells her, “I like you miss weiss, but you can’t handle me.” an alternative school brings light relief and a class of quirky classmates, each with their own individual problems become a support network for Precious as she learns to read and write. In new teacher ms rain, Precious finds a much-needed role-model: an educated and successful black woman. director lee daniel’s interweaving of tragedy with comic elements increases the
film’s watchability and gives it a surprisingly uplifting note. The all-star cast, including mariah carey, monique and lenny kravitz, do not take centre stage or distract from the film’s message. overall the film communicates how, given the right support, even those in the most dire and seemingly irrevocable of circumstances can take charge of their own lives, restructuring their futures. recommended, but don’t forget the tissues.
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Not equal, but better
It is easy to forget, while we continue to battle race inequality in education, that some great strides have been made. Sinae Hong looks at progress made since the momentous 1985 Swann Report
he first major government report to look at issues affecting the educational attainment of ethnic minority pupils was the Swann report of 1985, entitled Education for All. The report urged a new approach in which a multicultural curriculum would be offered to reflect the multiracial nature of british society. Though the Swann committee’s recommendations received little support from then education minister Sir keith Joseph, the report has since been pivotal in sparking discussion on multi-ethnic issues. Twenty five years on, huge progress has been made towards race equality in the education sector, though some of the report’s recommendations could still be of benefit to us in looking at ways to build on our good work.. The Swann report was published during a time of considerable social unrest among ethnic minority communities in the Uk. a three-day long riot in brixton, south london, in the early 1980s became notorious as one of the worst outbreaks of disorder in the Uk, with more than 300 injuries reported. The violence in brixton came as a result of racial tensions between local residents, a large portion of them from the black caribbean community, and police officers. lord Scarman, who was appointed to lead an inquiry into the brixton riots, pointed to racial disadvantage and discrimination as its main catalyst. Similar clashes erupted in other inner city areas with high numbers of non-white residents, including Tottenham, Small heath and Toxteth. Swann report authors adopted the term ‘education for all’, rather than ‘multicultural education’ to avoid focusing explicitly on race or culture. The intention was rather to emphasise the importance of education
for every child, regardless of their ethnicity. contrary to 1960s and 1970s education policies, where assimilation and integration were the solution for the educational problem, the Swann report urged a new approach in the educational system to respond to ‘the changed and changing nature of british Society’; i.e. an approach that recognised that britain was, by this stage, very much a multiracial and culturally diverse society.
the need for multiracial understanding
The report argued that education had to combat racism and attack inherited myths and stereotypes, while multiracial understanding had to permeate all aspects of a school’s work. only in this way, the committee argued, could schools offer anything approaching equality of opportunity for all pupils. The report concluded that the underachievement of ethnic minority students was substantially the result of racial prejudice and discrimination on the part of society at large. This was particularly the case when looking at the areas of employment and housing, which have an indirect influence on children’s attainment at school. however the underachievement of ethnic minority children was also found to be due, in large measure, to the prejudice and discrimination bearing on them directly. There is much for the race equality sector to be proud of; since the Swann report was published in 1985, many strides have been made in
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providing all children, irrespective of race, colour or ethnic origin, with a good education. The level of attainment by black and minority ethnic (bme) students has generally been improving, though black students are still struggling, with only 66.8 per cent of them achieving five or more a*- c grades at GcSe level - 3 per cent lower than the Uk average.
communities’ concerns and might exacerbate the very feelings of exclusion and separateness. here, the need for all pupils to share a common educational experience is emphasised again by the report. The 2008 runnymede report, Right to divide? Faith Schools and Community Cohesion, debated and discussed the role of faith schools and their impact on community cohesion. It recommended that faith schools in england must become schools for all children in order to encourage interaction between pupils from different ethnic and/or faith backgrounds. This report sparked a renewed discussion on faith schools among religious leaders and teaching practitioners as well as in national newspapers, including the Telegraph, the Guardian, and the Times. In november 2009, approximately one year after the report was published, an educational conference on faith schools was organised by St. George’s house under the title of Faith Schools: Freedom of choice or recipe for division, focusing on religious and social areas as well as their impact on staff and pupils. This conference brought together leading scholars, policy makers and journalists, both supporters and critics, evaluating recent research and arguments both for and against faith schools’ contribution to community cohesion. Teacher education and the employment of ethnic minority teachers Teachers should be trained to teach in a multicultural context, whether teaching in a multiracial school or not, advised the committee. The underrepresentation of ethnic minority teachers was also a great concern for the committee, as there was no statistical data on the ethnic origins of teachers and student teachers at the time the report was published. according to the most recent statistics by the government’s education department, the proportion of bme teachers in 2008/09 was 6 per cent, compared to 2.7 per cent in 2004. however, twenty five years on there remain areas where improvements could be made. a gap still exists for pupils from different racial groups and the numbers of minority ethnic teachers and senior managers in education is disproportionately low. For all that, however, we in the race equality sector must applaud our progress over the past couple of decades; there is no doubt that Uk schools are fairer places to be that they were for previous generations. runnymede is in a unique position to observe the strides made towards race equality in education. we have been here, working towards the same goal, indeed producing the same quarterly bulletin, for more than 40 years.
the Runnymede Bulletin that covered the Swann Report in 1985
legislation to promote race equality
In 2002, the race relations amendment act 2000 came into force, making it a legal duty for all public institutions, including schools, to have policies in place to promote race equality. Under the act, all state-run schools must have a race equality policy and must act upon it, taking steps to narrow the gap between the levels of attainment of different ethnic groups. with the aim of tackling racism and promoting multiracial understanding, citizenship was introduced as a school subject by the government in 2002, involving every student, rather than certain ethnic groups. one focus was britain’s diversity, giving students opportunities to think about what it means to be british and to live in a multicultural society. also the Qualifications and curriculum authority (Qca), which was established in 1997 to develop and regulate the national curriculum, assessments in schools and qualifications, deals with many race, religion and multicultural issues. In 2006, ofsted published the race and equality scheme to ensure that school inspections assess the effectiveness of equality policies for pupils from different racial and cultural backgrounds. Three years later ofsted launched the new school inspection framework, obliging inspectors to place greater emphasis on the achievement of different groups of pupils, as well as overall achievement. as ofsted chair Zenna atkins mentions in her interview (pages 28 & 29), closing gaps for underachieving groups and raising standards for all learners has become a very important part of the way in which schools are inspected. In the 25 years since the Swann report, and for many before, runnymede has also been working towards ethnic diversity in the school curriculum. In 2003, we updated our 1993 publication, Equality Assurance in School, taking into account changes to education and race legislation. The new publication, Complementing Teachers: A Practical Guide to Promoting Race Equality in Schools offers teaching practitioners workable guidance on the promotion of race equality and cultural diversity within classrooms. The real histories directory (rhd), another runnymede project, is an online resource aimed specifically at teachers in order to help them promote a successful multi-ethnic britain. The website encourages an educational focus on cultural diversity across the Uk. among a plethora of information, the directory includes where to find culturally diverse toys and games, dual language bookshops, and organisations providing resources on citizenship and human rights. meanwhile, Achieving Race Equality in Schools is a professional development course for teachers provided by runnymede. Through a range of exercises, it offers teachers an opportunity to develop their skills in promoting race equality and cultural diversity in school settings.
Religion and the role of the school
establishing separate religious schools was not welcomed by the Swann committee as this approach would fail to tackle many of the
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meaningful integration might look like. Report author Dr Zubaida Haque reviews international labour market, political, social and cultural integration strategies; and discusses ways of benchmarking successful integration. Watch a video of her presenting the report here: http://bit.ly/newmigrants here: http://bit.ly/ethnicprofiling We also ran an online debate on ethnic profiling, including comment from lord carlile and new ministers chris Huhne and Damian Green. Read what they had to say here: http://bit.ly/eprofilingdebate and how this may affect certain BME groups, with a particular focus on the Bangladeshi community.
the Runnymede Westminster Monitor, launched at the beginning of the year, is updated more than twice a week with all the latest race equality-related news from parliament and the wider political arena. Read the latest post and add your comments here: http://bit.ly/westminsterblog
We are looking for several bright sparks to volunteer with the Runnymede team over the summer. If you have a passion for race equality and the experience and skills to support our researchers or communications team, please get in touch. the internships can be part-time or full-time and are unpaid, though travel expenses will be reimbursed. the closing date for applications is tuesday 1 June 2010. For more information on the internships and how to apply go to: http://bit.ly/runnymedeinterns
FIll IN oUR SURVEY
If you are a middle manager, senior manager or executive, we would be really grateful if you could give us ten minutes of your time. Runnymede is conducting research on career progression and workplace culture and we are looking for survey respondents from all ethnic backgrounds, working across all sectors. Help us to work towards a level playing field for all, regardless of race, by filling out the survey and sending it to your friends and colleagues. Fill in the survey online here: http://bit.ly/runnymedesurvey
lone Mothers of Mixed Racial and Ethnic children: then and Now pulls together data from interviews with single mothers of mixed-race children. Some of the anecdotal evidence is from those who brought up their children decades ago, and this is compared with the experiences of women doing the same today. In this research report Dr chamion caballero and Prof Rosalind Edwards, of the london South Bank University, explore the specific racisms that this group of women and children face. Download the report here: http://bit.ly/lonemothers
A MAttER oF ASSEtS
Runnymede’s Why Do Assets Matter? report details the extent to which black and minority ethnic (BME) people hold fewer assets than the wider population and why this is important. omar Khan presents his reseach in this publication and suggests ways to increase assetholding for all. Download the report here: http://bit.ly/runnymedeassets
Following the success of our e-conference on the link between ethnic background and pupil exclusions, Debbie Weekes-Bernard, head of our education team, is producing a report on the same topic. Young black caribbean boys, in particular, are excluded from school at a much higher rate than their peers. catch a preview of some articles that will be in the report at: http://bit.ly/pupilexclusions
Award-winning political theorist and Huffington Post blogger Benjamin Barber will be among the speakers at this international conference, along with broadcaster and columnist Yasmin AlibhaiBrown. the event, the full title for which is civic, Political and cultural Engagement Among Migrants, Minorities and National Populations: Multidisciplinary Perspectives, will be jointly hosted by Runnymede and cRoNEM. Find out more and register for the event here: http://bit.ly/livingtogether
tAKE MY ADVIcE
In his report Seeking Sound Advice Phil Mawhinney highlights the possiblity that many black and minority (BME) ethnic people will miss out on a new government initiative. the report makes recommendations to ensure that BME people are able to make full use of the government’s Money Guidance service, a scheme that provides free and impartial advice on money issues and is currently being extended across the country. Read the report at: http://bit.ly/runnymedeadvice
Following the 10th anniversary of the Stephen lawrence Inquiry, some have declared institutional racism a thing of the past. Yet black people are still eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than white people. Runnymede invited a range of experts in the field - including academics, campaigners, the police and young people - to examine ethnic profiling in the UK. the report, entitled Ethnic Profiling: the Use of ‘Race’ in UK law Enforcement, presents the issue from different perspectives, including that of young people on the receiving end of stop and search tactics. Read the report
Runnymede is publishing a report on racist violence in the European Union. this follows a roundtable discussion that brought together exemplary projects from Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovakia. the aim of the project is to work with young people to tackle the underlying causes of racism, with the aim of preventing it. the report draw together the commonalities and lessons learnt from the different practices.
PENSIoNS AND PoVERtY
A report on the financial position of self-employed black and minority ethnic (BME) people is in the pipeline. Author Phil Mawhinney explores the link between selfemployment and pension poverty
Drawing on global examples of best practice, this report What Works With Integrating New Migrants? - explores what
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Runnymede director Rob Berkeley on the new government, race equality and education policy
let’s not waste a crisis
They say a week is a long time in politics and the week after the 6 may 2010 election was longer than most. It was always going to be an election that was hard to call – the mixture of a government seeking a fourth term with an opposition that was yet to ‘seal the deal’ with the british public, in the context of war on two fronts, and a global economic downturn presaging massive public spending cuts. So hard to call in fact that no one saw the remarkable result coming. we have a conservative liberal democrat coalition government for the first time in modern politics and over the coming weeks we will see the hasty re-drafting of government policy to accommodate this previously unimaginable broad church union that has set out to govern ‘in the national interest’. So what are the prospects for race equality in this context? The initial signs are not great if you consider that the cabinet now only has one member from a minority ethnic background (baroness warsi, minister without portfolio), indeed she is the only minority ethnic minister at any level in this government. while the election saw the number of black and minority ethnic mPs nearly double, it seems it will be some time before they are in a position to make an impact as government ministers. black and minority ethnic parliamentarians are not the only ones who can drive progress on race equality, but the question remains whether a government seeking to govern in the national interest in such difficult times can be drawn from such a narrow section of society?
this is a fertile period for progress to be made in reducing racial inequality in education, creating solutions to the challenges
conservative election manifestos reveals very different visions of education policy. The parties differ markedly on academies, the role of local education authorities, faith schools, school-leaving qualifications, curriculum, assessment, universal early years provision, and initial teacher education. Surprisingly, labour and conservative policies on education were closer than the conservative and lib dem policies are. The election outcome would therefore suggest that the vision of the new government will take some time to develop. depending on the personalities involved, this could be achieved through creative tensions that deliver a series of compromises, or a series of public rows and confusion over the direction of policy. whether compromise or row, runnymede will seek to ensure that the race equality impact of the decisions made is taken into account. what will be the impact of an expansion of faith-based providers in the education system for race relations? how will accountability on race equality be maintained and improved if inspection regimes go for an even lighter touch? how will new policies on curriculum, assessment and qualifications address the attainment and employment gaps suffered by certain minority ethnic groups? what early years provision can give young people the best start in life and reduce inequalities further up in the school system? how can we ensure leadership at all levels in the education system works to tackle race inequality? we will be seeking to work with partners over the coming months to design a programme of research and action that will enable race equality to be central to the concerns of education policy in an era of potential cuts, upheaval, and change. Upheaval is not always a negative condition, however. efforts in education policy have so far failed to solve the problems of race inequality identified over half a century ago. new studies have reignited the debate about racial stereotyping in the classroom. as you will see from our key Facts (page 31), exclusions from school still impact disproportionately on african-caribbean boys; only 1 percent of headteachers are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, compared to 22 per cent of the school population; and despite greater levels of participation in higher education, black and minority ethnic graduates are three times more likely to be underemployed. rahm emanuel, chief of staff at the white house, is quoted as saying: “a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. This is a fertile period for progress to be made in reducing racial inequality in education, moving from describing the problem to creating solutions to the challenges. There is a prospect of this moment of reform leading to better outcomes. It is likely to take all of our reserves of creativity, effective scrutiny of what happens in our educational institutions, and the creation of new solidarities, to deliver progressive change. a week may be a long time in politics but regardless of the machinations in westminster, the struggle continues.
In this new-look edition of the runnymede bulletin we have focused on education. It seems that this policy area will be a particularly fraught one for our new coalition government. looking at the lib dem and
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