Black pupils’ schooling ‘dumbed down over special needs’

Many black pupils in England are having their education dumbed down after being wrongly identified as having one of a range special needs, a study says. The BBC reports.

The study found black Caribbean pupils were twice as likely to be identified as having social, emotional and mental health needs as white British pupils. The Oxford University team could not explain the “substantial over-representation” of this group.

Previous research has looked towards cultural differences, teacher racism and ineffective classroom management as part of the answer.

Prof Steve Strand analysed data on six million children in England’s schools between 2005 and 2016.

Prof Strand said: “Black Caribbean children may be suffering an inappropriate and narrowed curriculum, from unwarranted over-identification, particularly [in] secondary schools.

“This might mean they get less academically challenging, more vocationally orientated work perhaps,” he said, “like being shifted from maths to motor maintenance, or experience a lowered expectation of what they can do.

“From the factors that we have measured – socio-economic background, poverty and neighbourhood deprivation, and children’s development on entry to school – we can’t explain why, in particular, black Caribbean children and mixed-black-Caribbean-and-white children are more likely to be diagnosed with  social, emotional and mental health needs (SEMH).”

He said it was clear some children had been “misidentified” by schools, although it was difficult to know how many.

“It’s important for schools to look at their policies and see that there isn’t anything that would cause a systematic bias in the way special needs and SEMH is identified.”

Read the full article  Black pupils’ schooling ‘dumbed down over special needs’

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