Signing Up for Success; Study: Leon Green, Who Is Is Benefiting from the Black Boys Can Scheme, with His Father, Henroy

Daily Mail (London), November 20, 2007 | Go to article overview

Signing Up for Success; Study: Leon Green, Who Is Is Benefiting from the Black Boys Can Scheme, with His Father, Henroy


Byline: Sarah Harris

THE underachievement of black boys is a problem that has long plaguedthe British education system.

Last year, only 36.5 per cent of black Caribbean boys gained five GCSEs atgrades A* to C compared to the national average for all pupilswhatever their ethnicity or gender of 57.3 per cent.

Although their achievement is improving, they still lag far behind all otherethnic groups.

In addition, black boys are around three times more likely to be excluded fromschool which means that many are in danger of slipping out of the systemaltogether.

But schemes across the country are attempting to redress the balance by makingblack pupils realise educational failure is not an inevitable fact of life.

The ACDiversity programme, based in South-East London, works with Cityorganisations including J.P. Morgan and mentors young black students from allbackgrounds.

Since 2003, 142 students have participated in the programme that aims to boostacademic and leadership skills, and their GCSE results are soaring.

Meanwhile, the Black Boys Can organisation runs projects across the country inareas including Birmingham and London for boys aged nine to 16. Around 500 areenrolled on projects. For a nominal fee of around [pounds sterling]3, boys, who are put forwardby their families, gain tutoring in maths, English and science on Saturdays.

They also learn about black figures in history, how to deal with finance anddevelop social skills such as communicating with others. Some gain help withangermanagement issues.

The results are paying off, with participants gaining on average 2.5percentagepoints above the overall GCSE five A* to C national average.

Among students is 16-year-old Leon Green, from Great Barr, Birmingham. Hisparents, Henroy, 43, a public relations director, and Marcia, 41, an NHSadministrator, signed him up for the programme, which began in Birmingham in1998 and was rolled out across the country in 2001.

The teenager believes the extra classes have had a positive effect on hislearning and attitude towards education. …

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