Story:Vivien Urwodhi | Photo: Cameron Raphael-Storm
The Parents Can Empowerment workshop was held at SADACCA on Thursday 12th November. It was one of four workshops to support African-Caribbean parents and was well attended by parents and workers.
The event was hosted by speaker Sean Deer from the Black Boys Can Association and Nigel Best from a Nottingham city school. They inspired parents with their eagerness for children to do well in education.
Before the main speaker, Mr Deer played a game to see if parents and other attendees would get involved. He borrowed a £2 pound coin and he asked if anybody would swap it for a £1 coin. But many were reluctant to pull money out of their pocket. At that moment he spotted that parents did not trust him and he compared it to the fact that most parents don’t participate in school or become involved because they don’t trust the school system.
The main speaker Nigel Best provided a lot of information concerning the progress of black students at the key stages. He excitedly confirmed that most of the black boys do well in primary key stages but, when they get on to Key Stages 3, their progress worsens and they fall behind their classmates.
He stated that some of the reasons relate to insufficient black or other ethnic minority teachers and added that they have few role models.
He also spoke about young people’s career paths, remembering when he questioned a few of his pupils about their future ambitions. Many of them just wanted to copy what their classmates’ expectations were. He strongly argued for parents to work closely with their children on making choices about school subjects, to help children choose subjects they can do well in.
The speaker addressed the issue of exclusion and explained that a greater number of young black pupils are excluded from school. He argued that parents shouldn’t ignore the situation; they have to keep on pursuing and finding out more about their child’s offence. They should ask questions and get advice.
In addition, he advised parents to support their children with any kind of difficulties they face at school by helping them to hand in homework and to arrive on time. They should also attend parents’ evenings and become school governors to ensure their child’s success and progress in school.
The atmosphere was fabulous and the room was full of silence as people listened, but they also asked a lot of questions and contributed comments.
“What do you do with kids that are not coping in the classroom? This issue is not debated enough.”
“I’ve seen pupils in year 10 and 11 put on work placements to get them out of schools because of behaviour, so they are not doing the core subjects and not getting their qualifications. How can schools get away with this?”
“A teacher might say your child is doing all right, but it’s important that, even if they are doing well, they are still challenged to do better.”
“It’s good that OFSTED are now looking at how children progress in a school not just at what the exam results are.”