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The Research

The Research

The reform of our education system is critically important in the pursuit of social mobility and reducing economic inequality. When examining history and the current outcomes of education for Black children in Britain, it becomes clear that our education system requires reimagination. Central to this reimagining must be an understanding of power and how it functions in schools, communities, and families.

Power is often thought of as something that is purely hierarchical with elites or certain individuals holding more power than others. While this traditional idea of power helps to understand issues such as representation (or a lack thereof), it does not fully provide us with the depth of understanding on how power functions. With our research on Black Education and Power we take a different view, understanding power not as a fixed thing that only some people have. Rather we see power as something that is everywhere. We believe that there is power found in Black communities.

This is why we are conducting research that seeks to conduct a power analysis of Black Education. We want to understand the areas in which parents feel they lack power but also where they feel empowered. We believe that across the country, Black parents, teachers, communities, young people and others exercise power in productive ways. They empower their communities, their schools, and their children. Power can limit us but can also build us up.

Rather than purely focusing on school deficiencies, we’ve taken a systemic approach to education and race with an explicit focus on power.

The Operationalisation of Power

Our primary concern is on the ‘hidden forms of power’ and how power is experienced. This approach to power which provides an opportunity to understand the nuance of experiences of Black communities, is under-researched. This analysis therefore aims to consider three areas as follows namely:

  • Parental power

This analysis seeks to understand how Black parents exercise power and where they feel there is a deficit. The aim will also be to map out support structures for Black communities, that help to scale-up their perceived assets.

  • Community power:

We want to understand how power functions in communities again seeking to understand assets, areas of perceived deficits, while mapping areas and opportunities to scale-up what is working well.

  • School power:

Finally, we seek to understand how power functions in schools by particularly looking at the experience of Black teachers. We also want to understand the assets that Black pupils perceive that they have in schools, as well as their perceptions of power deficits.