All boys are lost without mentors

11th March 2005 at 00:00
Trevor Phillips suggests that some black boys should be taught in separate classrooms. Could the boys be asked what they feel about this?

Black males with African and Caribbean backgrounds are usually far more open to their feelings than we are traditionally in Britain. However, all children need enough space to be able to sort out their feelings in their own way, rather than having to restrain them continually to fit in with other people's expectations.

All children need a sound relationship with one adult outside home and school who is detached enough and positive enough to see the best in them.

Otherwise they will never, ever develop a positive identity, and will therefore remain lost. Such an adult may be an aunt, uncle or family friend.

When a child or teenager feels isolated and their behaviour is seen to be "difficult", it is time for a headteacher and the child's parents to get together and find a creative mentor who will share a constructive interest with them.

Such a relationship could prevent problems from getting out of proportion.

Sadly, many boys need such a friend, say headteachers. Perhaps while we have been so focused on exams, such essential relationships have become lostfor too many.

Margie McGregor

Director, "Creative inspirations"

Hordley House

WoottonWoodstock

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