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Black Education in Britain

Our Black Education in Britain programme is in partnership with Mission 44. The programme will delve into the barriers to education for Black pupils in the UK and make recommendations on what can be done to dismantle them, to enable children to reach their full potential.

Research by the YMCA shows that nearly half of Black young people in the UK think that teacher perceptions (50%) and racism at school (49%) are the biggest barriers to them achieving at school. In 2021/22, only 34.4% of Black Caribbean pupils in state-funded schools in England achieved grades 5 or above in GCSE English and Maths, compared to 49.6% of the overall student population.

Our ‘Black Education in Britain’ programme will establish clarity about these systemic barriers and what can be done to support Black pupils and their families through the education system. Its focus will be to lay the foundations for change across the education sector, working in partnership with key actors.

Our objectives, particularly in relation to our education work, aligns with Mission 44’s mission to support, champion and empower young people from underserved groups to succeed through opportunity narrowing gaps in education, employment, and wider society. More specifically, they reflect Mission 44’s goal of building a more inclusive education system that enables all young people to flourish.

This research examines mainstream education provision in terms of how it does or does not meet the needs of Black children, while mapping the assets and power that Black communities have and exercise.

Some emerging questions from our research:

  • Parental power
    How do Black parents feel that they can exercise power. How can this be scaled up and supported?
  • Community power
    How does power function in Black communities and how does this differ by place?
    What are the assets found in Black communities and what (if any) are the barriers to fully utilising these?
  • School power
    How do Black teachers exercise power within schools?
    What are the assets that Black teachers perceive they have within school environment and how can this be scaled up?
    What are the perceived deficits of power found with Black teachers?
    What are the perceived assets that Black pupils perceive they have within schools?