The Saltley Parents' Organisation in Birmingham

26th May 1995 at 01:00
The Saltley Parents' Organisation in Birmingham was set up three years ago because of what chairman Mohammad Nazir describes as "the low achievement of the whole of the area". The community is predominately Pakistani with smaller numbers of Bangladeshi, Afro-Caribbean and white families.

Widespread dissatisfaction with the education their children were getting - despite, says Mr Nazir, "the many articles talking about the high achievement of Asian children" - has brought the various groups together to work with the education department and the schools on issues such as homework, pupil support, parental involvement in schools, resources and encouraging more ethnic minorities to take part in the education system.

The 200-strong organisation is asking the LEA for more full-time nursery places for all children, for teachers to receive more training, for heads to acquire more specialised management skills and for extra support for low-achieving children.

The group, which consists of parents and governors from each school in the area as well as consultants, is part of a larger association which also deals with health and the environment.

Birmingham is also home to the Afro-Caribbean Development Network, an education forum bringing together schools where ethnic minority pupils are achieving, and analysing evidence on outcomes and methodologies.

Says Birmingham's chief education officer, Tim Brighouse, who chaired the first meeting of the forum: "Our main goal is to get energy and concern firing simultaneously around trying to push achievement levels up.

"We have the advantage in Birmingham of having a city rich in ethnic communities."

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