Brent schools to get ‘black Caribbean champions’ under £550k project to improve performance of young black boys

Brent Civic Centre.

Brent Civic Centre. - Credit: Archant

Every school in Brent is set to be given a Black Caribbean “champion” to help transform the achievements of young black boys.

A £550,000, two-year project could be signed off by Brent cabinet members next week in an effort to improve the attainment of the youngsters.

Boys from Black Caribbean backgrounds are well below the national average at early years level, and Key Stages 1, 2 and 4, and have been for five years.

Brent Council, the Brent Schools Partnership, the two teaching school alliances and schools in the borough all say the underachievements are unacceptable and fixing the problem is a key priority.

There are 4,130 pupils of black Carbibean background in the borough, 2,054 of which are boys. The aim of the project, dubbed “raising the achievement of black Caribbean boys in Brent schools”, is to spot underachieving pupils, or those at risk of underachieving, at an early age and support them.

A town hall spokeswoman told the Times: “This programme is being proposed to ensure that the gap in educational outcomes is rapidly closed.”

Another “serious concern” for the town hall is the pattern of exclusions for young black Caribbean boys, which is hugely disproportionate.

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In 2017/18 black pupils made up 56 per cent of all those excluded temporarily, in cases where ethnicity was recorded. And for permanent exclusions, black pupils made up 42pc of the total number. That’s despite black children making up only 10pc of all pupils in the borough.

In 2015 the council set up the Equality and Exclusions Project to tackle the over-representation. It showcased the best practice at four schools in Brent with a track record of reducing exclusions.

The council spokeswoman admitted: “More work is still required. This programme seeks to deliver to reduce exclusions for this group.”

The report set to go before cabinet member next week indicated teachers’ knowledge and understanding of factors leading to the underachievement or success of black Caribbean children is varied.

Funding will be spent on analysing performance, champions being placed in every school for two years to improve outcomes, training the champions and training staff and governors.