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The Committee was asked to look at the educational needs and attainments of children from the whole range of ethnic minority groups bearing in mind factors relating to pre-school experiences and prospects for school leavers.
As a first step, however, the Committee was required to prepare an interim report on the particular needs and attainments of West Indian children. The report stresses that virtually all these children are British-born.
In preparing its interim report, the Committee received written and oral evidence from a wide range of individuals and organisations including many representatives of the West Indian community and between January and July members spent over days visiting schools and other institutions around the country.
The Committee summarises briefly the various studies which over recent years have appeared to show considerable underachievement by West Indian pupils in relation to their white peers.
The results of the School Leavers Survey Exercise show: The report considers in some detail the various factors, both within the education system and outside it, which have been said to lead West Indian children to underachieve: The Committee believes that only a very small minority of teachers could be said to be racist in the commonly accepted sense.
The Committee concludes that, whilst racism, whether intentional or unintentional, cannot be said alone to account for the underachievement of West Indian children, it can and does have an important bearing on their performance at school. The report therefore urges teachers to be prepared to examine and reappraise their attitudes and behaviour, to challenge all manifestations of racism and to playa leading role in seeking to change the attitudes of society as a whole towards ethnic minority communities.
Pre-school Provision The Committee feels that the existing provision for the under fives, both in terms of day care and nursery education, is generally inadequate to meet the needs of the population as a whole, and may be particularly ill-suited to the needs of West Indian families.
The report recommends that local authorities should make greater efforts to ensure that West Indian parents are aware of the pre-school facilities available and that LEAs should do more to help parents appreciate the contribution which they can make to the progress of their child, before he enters school.
Other recommendations relate to the need for better coordination within local authorities of services for the under-fives, the conversion of former primary school premises for nursery use, the extension of the opening hours of nursery schools and units, the need for those who work with under-fives to be made aware of the particular difficulties faced by West Indian families, and the need for there to be more nursery nurses and health visitors from ethnic minority groups.
Reading and Language Reading The report summarises the findings and conclusions of the ILEA Literacy Survey on the low reading attainment of West Indian children and discusses briefly [page xx] the methods and materials used by schools for teaching reading.
It focuses on a recent study of the benefits derived by schools from involving parents more directly in helping their children to learn to read and recommends that all LEAs and schools should consider ways of building on this work.
Language The report summarises current views on the nature of the language of West Indian children, the various approaches adopted by schools and teachers to this language and the attitudes of West Indian parents. It believes that the examining boards have shown themselves inflexible and, in some cases, dismissive both of the particular needs which ethnic minority pupils may have, and of the need for their syllabuses and papers to be more relevant to the actual experiences of the pupils in schools today.
It therefore recommends that all GCE and CSE boards should review their policies in [page xxi] this respect and, looking towards the restructuring of the examinations system, that the DES should take account of these considerations in any new arrangements.
It recommends that headteachers should ensure all their staff are aware of their pastoral responsibilities; that LEAs should provide appropriate in-service courses on the particular needs of ethnic minority pupils and that teachers should be encouraged to attend these courses.
Links between Schools and the Community The Committee highlights here one of the main themes running throughout its report - the gulf in trust and understanding between schools and West Indian parents.
The report offers a range of recommendations designed to foster closer links between schools and the community they serve.
The report therefore recommends strongly that the DES should carry out its undertaking 4 to collect statistics on the ethnic mix of ESN M schools in order to establish the facts clearly and in chapter three recommends that further ethnically based educational statistics should be collected.
It therefore recommends that procedures after a pupil is suspended or excluded should be tightened up.
Again the absence of statistics meant that it was not possible for the Committee to establish whether West Indians were over-represented although in the units the members visited this did not seem to be the case.
The report points out that unemployment is disproportionately high among young West Indians, not least because discrimination is still widespread in the jobs market.Teacher experience essay in tamil language.
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