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Title: An exploration of African-Caribbean boys’ underachievement and their stories of schooling
Author: Graham, Janet
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 7396
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study investigates why African-Caribbean boys continue to underachieve in schools. It is based on an extensive study of one Inner London school and has also involved a thorough review of the existing literature about why this particular group of students do not fulfil their potential. The inspiration for this study has been the work of Bernard Coard (1971) who wrote influentially about how the first generation of West Indian children was branded as ‘Educationally Subnormal’ by the British school system. Over thirty years later, the failure of African-Caribbean boys continues to be an alarming phenomenon, despite years of multi-culturalism and education for ‘diversity’. One of the arguments of my study is that African-Caribbean boys can even become ‘hidden’ amongst much larger groups of students who have English as an Additional Language (EAL) and who as a result, often receive extensive additional support. British schools have changed since the time that Coard (1971) was writing, but as my study demonstrates African-Caribbean boys are still likely to be over represented in the various Behaviour or Learning Support Units. I have also discovered that, far fewer African-Caribbean boys in the school investigated are likely to go on to the sixth form in comparison to students from other backgrounds. Even though there have been many studies about race and education, far fewer researchers have tried to ‘hear it from the boys’. I have carried out extensive research at school level amongst the boys and their teachers. As well as conducting an Institutional Focus Study of the school in question. I have argued that, whilst other groups such as white working class boys have been hostile to school, on the contrary, most of the boys in my study wanted to learn or saw the importance of obtaining qualifications in order to improve their chances in life. African-Caribbean boys are not ‘their own worst enemies’, but the reasons for their underachievement are complex, being the result of a range of factors. As I am a practitioner, I have concluded my study with some practical proposals for change which I hope will make a difference to the lives of these boys.
Supervisor: Watts, D. M. ; Hebron, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Underachievement ; Boys ; Subculture ; Institutianalised racism ; Exclusion