Letters Extra: Phillips sparks concern

7th February 2003 at 00:00

I felt that I needed to write to you after reading your front page story 'Race chief slates schools' (TES, January 31).

As a black Chair of Governors in both a primary and secondary school I am deeply concerned that the chief of thenbsp;CRE, Trevor Phillips, speaks in such an inflammatory way regardingnbsp;exclusions of African-Caribbean boys.

Is he saying that headteachers are excluding pupils just because they are black? He needs to look at thenbsp;reasons for these exclusions.

Schools have a responsibility for all pupils and staff.nbsp;The evidence he quotes from Dr David Gillborn isnbsp;more thannbsp;ten years old. Schools like mine are bending overnbsp;backwards to keep all its pupils in school.

With on-site Pupil Supportnbsp;Units, the many hours spent by senior management and governors have beennbsp;getting results. Schools offer mentoring, behaviour and anger management.

They get social services and education physiologists involved in offering family support and child guidance. But there is a hard core of pupils whonbsp;refuse help, who disrupt the education of whole classes of pupils,nbsp;threaten pupils and staff. Governors do not uphold an exclusion lightly.

So far as the achievement of African-Caribbean boys goes, this needs to be investigated far more. I am sure it is more that just school as annbsp;institution. We may need to look at the curriculum, how black pupils looknbsp;at secondary education.

We need to look at parental support, peer pressure, a feeling of what do I need to study for, I won't get a job nonbsp;matter how well I do.

The black role models are waiting on a street corner, in their BMWs, without a job butnbsp;with lots of money innbsp;theirnbsp;pockets.

We have to teach our children to want to achieve, to thirst for knowledge,nbsp;to have discipline, to respect our elders and those in authority and worknbsp;hard at whatsoever we do, as many other minority groups do.

Gordon Thongs-George
Bideford Gardens
Bush Hill Park

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