Black pupils 'Aiming High'
Press release issued: 15 January 2007
Have black schoolchildren in the UK made advances in their educational performance as a result of the government’s Aiming High project? Professor of Education, Leon Tikly will be presenting a national report on the project in Bristol today at the second HOPE [Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally] conference.
Have black schoolchildren in the UK made advances in their educational performance as a result of the government’s Aiming High project? Bristol University Professor of Education, Leon Tikly will be presenting a national report on the project in Bristol today at the second HOPE (Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally) conference.
Representatives from over 70 local schools and black community organisations will attend the conference, organised by Bristol Local Authority and led by Bristol Ethnic Minority Achievement Service.
The Aiming High: African Caribbean Achievement project was launched by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) in 2003. Thirty schools were initially selected (this has now been increased to 100), with the aim of developing a whole-school approach to raising the achievement of African Caribbean pupils. The school leaders were provided with extra resources for leadership, support and training. As part of the pilot, the DfES commissioned researchers from the University of Bristol, the Institute of Education and Birmingham Local Authority to undertake an independent evaluation of the results.
The researchers found that many pupils who received extra help raised their attainment dramatically. For example, they noted a significant rise in the number of 14-year-old black Caribbean boys achieving at least Level 5 in tests: a 13 per cent increase in maths, 12 per cent in English and 3.5 per cent in science. These rates were above average for the schools concerned (three are in Bristol), and above the UK average for black Caribbean boys.
The Bristol evaluation team consisted of Professor Tikly in the University’s Graduate School of Education and Jo Haynes and Chamion Caballero in the Department of Sociology. Also involved were Dr John Hill from Birmingham LEA and Professor David Gillborn from the University of London’s Institute of Education.
Professor Tikly said: “The consistent under-achievement of Black Caribbean learners in English schools has been a blight on our education system and a cause for concern and anger within the black community for half a century.
“Our evaluation of the Aiming High project shows the positive results that can be achieved when the government, together with local authorities, schools and the black communities, work together to overcome the specific barriers to achievement facing black youngsters and especially black boys.
“It is indeed fitting, as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, that the University is working with the Local Authority and the local community to find ways to ensure that all of our children – including those of Black Caribbean heritage – will have the chance to achieve their full potential.”