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An investigation of factors which may contribute to the disproportionately high rate of exclusions of African Caribbean boys from secondary schools

Iyadurai, Suzanne Sivakamy; (2003) An investigation of factors which may contribute to the disproportionately high rate of exclusions of African Caribbean boys from secondary schools. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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African Caribbean pupils experience disproportionate rates of both fixed term and permanent exclusions from schools across Britain. Boys from Black Caribbean and Black Other ethnic groups are most affected. At the same time, a gap between attainments of African Caribbean pupils and attainments of White pupils widens through all key stages of schooling from an "on a par" start at baseline assessment. This suggests that there are factors which are educationally disadvantageous for African Caribbean pupils operating during both primary and secondary phases of schooling. These factors may derive from a wide range of sources which are not necessarily within the schooling system. Factors leading to the gap in attainments may or may not be linked with those leading to disproportionate exclusions. The overall aim of the research was to gain insight into factors operating within schools in order to indicate relevant areas for early intervention to prevent the later exclusion of African Caribbean boys. Most permanent exclusions occur from years 10 and 11 of secondary school. However these often appear to be the culmination of a longer period of deteriorating relationship between the pupil and school. Additionally adolescent "sub-cultural groupings" at this age may also serve to increase the risk of exclusion. Since the aim was to contribute to prevention, both studies were undertaken with younger groups of pupils. The first study explored the perceptions of a sample of boys at key stage 3 who had experienced fixed term exclusion, and their families. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected on views of school, the exclusion, family and pupil factors through structured face to face interviews. Comparison was made between African Caribbean and White pupil and family perceptions. Wide similarities were found between the responses, however some subtle differences emerged. Parents from the African Caribbean group viewed discipline in secondary school as significantly worse than parents from the White group. They also perceived the exclusions as significantly more "unfair", more often citing singling out of their son for blame, and confrontational styles of classroom management as contributory factors. Previous research has indicated more teacher-pupil confrontation, more teacher criticism and control, and singling out of African Caribbean boys for blame in secondary school. The current findings suggest a direct link with exclusion. Other areas of concern commented on by pupils and parents were lack of parental involvement with secondary schools, lack of genuine valuing of diversity, an excessively "Euro-centric" curriculum, and pupil views not being heard. The second study used direct observation of pupil classroom behaviour and teacher pupil interactions at key stage 2, comparing African Caribbean boys, a representative sample of White boys, and White boys matched for teacher ratings of learning and behaviour. The aim was to investigate whether there were more observed negative teacher-pupil interactions with African Caribbean boys, and if so whether these were related to differences in pupil behaviour. The findings were that the African Caribbean boys spent a significantly higher percentage of time on task, and called out to the teacher more frequently than the matched White group. The African Caribbean pupils also received significantly more negative behaviour comments from the teacher, than the White representative sample or the matched White group. This is unlikely to be entirely explicable in terms of increased calling out to the teacher. Possible reasons are discussed in relation to the research literature. The outcomes from both studies are discussed in the context of current theories of African Caribbean disadvantage within the education system. These are used to identify areas for intervention strategies in primary and secondary schools to prevent disproportionate exclusions of African Caribbean boys.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: An investigation of factors which may contribute to the disproportionately high rate of exclusions of African Caribbean boys from secondary schools
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108853
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