Black mentors are not enough;Letter

9th April 1999 at 01:00
What is really going on in Croydon? (TES, March 26).

Of course, mentors such as barrister Dominic Carrington are essential to provide positive role models for ethnic-minority children.

However, the African-Caribbean team in Croydon is apparently permanently based in approximately nine primary schools and six secondaries. Maybe a flexible, rolling programme is needed to spread this service? Perhaps institutional racism is a root cause, in an authority that appears not to recruit, retain and promote black teachers.

Croydon is said to be one of the two highest-excluding authorities in the London area. The figures for permanent exclusions ignore the increasing high numbers of temporary exclusions, especially in primary schools.

At Croydon equalities unit's recent seminar on ethnic-minority exclusions, it was revealed that there is apparently a worrying trend of unrecorded, temporary and permanent exclusions against official guidance. This may mask the true extent of the problem.

Maybe at the heart of the problem is the lack of meaningful consultation with local ethnic-minority communities, as is demanded by the Macpherson Report. Perhaps, after five years, the fact that Croydon is still without a race equality council, which would give people an effective voice, is an indicator as to what is really going on.

Doreen Jansen

98 Dorchester Court

Sloane Walk

Shirley

Croydon

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