Education Overview

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world - Nelson Mandela"

The education sections on the Black Parent Network website looks at a range of educational issues and available information, advice and resources available to you, whether your child is in the infants or primary school, or at college or university.  We all want the best education for our children through the key stages that children go through and we at the Black Parent Network believe that in every sense of the words, “knowledge is power” when it comes to education.

Education Doctor

Please visit the “Education Doctor” which has been designed to address some of the common issues which many parents raise about the education of black children.  Our advice and resources section has been designed to provide you with easy to access information and resources to guide you.

Education Is The Key To The Future

Education is critical to giving children the knowledge they need to enable them to develop socially and intellectually.  Education is also the key to empowering children so that they can reach their full potential to pursue the type of lifestyle and career they want and aspire to.

Education Broadens Children’s Horizons 

A good education is also the key to broadening children’s horizons so that they learn about culture and history as well as the getting the chance to develop the skills to create their own ideas and make their own contributions to the world.  Education also makes children better citizens because it socialises them and gives them the ability to learn and understand the rights and responsibilities – not only of themselves but for everyone else too. 

Education For A Productive Work Life

Moreover education is vital to ensuring that children learn the skills, knowledge and qualifications that they need to lead a productive and fulfilled life as working adults.  Without an educated work force it can stunt the development of a dynamic and globally competitive economy.

Factors Which Affect Educational Attainment

As parents we are aware that there are numerous factors which disproportionately affect the educational attainment of black children. These factors often cause parents to approach the Black Parent Network for practical help and support to deal with the anxiety that these issues cause children and their parents. Frequently, with the right resources and advice, these issues can be navigated and overcome by parents on behalf of their children. However, too often, for many reasons, where parents and their children are failed by the system, issues are not satisfactorily resolved, leading to under performance and even exclusion from the educational system.


Given the importance of education in enabling a child to develop and have a successful life, it is very evident that being excluded from education can have a devastating impact on children.

168 Times More Likely To Be Excluded

Government statistics show that four key factors in a child's life make it more likely a child will be excluded from school: their gender, having special educational needs (SEN), their ethnicity, and when they live in poverty. When all four factors are combined, these figures show that a Black boy from an African Caribbean background, who has SEN and is also from a low income household, is 168 times more likely to be permanently excluded from the same school than a White female classmate, who does not have SEN and comes from a more affluent household. The figures have been known for many years, and it is past time for concerted action to close the gaps.

In March 2012, Children's Commissioner for England, publishes findings from an Inquiry into School Exclusions, reporting that: "the consequences of being permanently excluded from school are substantial for any child. Many never re-engage with formal education. Today, 40% of 16-18 year olds not in education, employment or training (NEETS) have been permanently excluded.” In fact she went on the Inquiry will examine whether the current system and proposed changes to it are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to which the UK is a signatory.”


Facts & Figures

An examination of the statistics gives all parents cause for concern, but it is not a universally negative picture. There are some areas where black children are doing better, particularly amongst girls who on the whole, outperform boys. Against a national average of 58% of all children achieving five A* to C grades including maths and English, 47% of African girls and 40% of Caribbean girls achieve good grades. This is in contrast with African and Caribbean boys who attain less well with 34% and 25%, respectively. Ethnic minorities are also better represented in UK universities than in the general population. In 2007-08, 16% of students from the UK studying for degrees were from a black, Asian or ethnic minority background. This compared to 14.2% of the 18-24-year-old age group as a whole. The Race for Opportunity report found ethnic minority students made up 14.1% of the total of students at 20 leading Russell Group universities.

-9,500 black children leave primary school every year unable to read, write and add up properly.  

-Of 3,000 students who started at Oxford in 2008, only five were of black  Caribbean in origin.

-This inequality extends to the job market too, with research in 2010 showing that almost half of young black people are unemployed, with well over twice the rate for young white people.


“"BLACK BOYS 168 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO BE EXCLUDED FROM SCHOOL” - Maggie Atkinson, the Children's Commissioner for England

The Children Commissioner’s 2012 report on exclusions highlights that black children, especially African Caribbean boys with a special educational needs or from a poorer background are 168 times more likely to be expelled than a white middle class female counter part.

On a more individual level without a good education, children are stunted and denied the chance to fulfil their potential.  Yet in the UK black children have historically had much lower attainments than their white counter parts.


Tell It Like It Is - book that is a classic text looking at British school system and how it has a tendancy to classify black children as educationally subnormal.

Race for Opportunity - Race Into Higher Education

Race Equality & Schools Parents & Carers Handbook

Direct Gov website on Parents Rights and Education

Dr Maggie Atkinson, Children's Commissioner for England publishes findings from her School Exclusions Inquiry in her report, "They Never Give Up On You"

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