7. Memorandum submitted by
Ken Barnes, c-a-n-i Consultancy, and The 100 Black Men of London
1.1 Ken Barnes has over 15 years experience
in the field of mentoring & training and development. As the
Principal Consultant of c-a-n-i, he works in a number of schools
around London delivering life skills training to young people.
1.2 c-a-n-i in-school programmes focus on
developing emotional intelligence. With an emphasis on facilitating
learning, we create programmes, products and services that inspire
and motivate children to learn, grow and develop.
1.3 Our programmes serve as an excellent
compliment to the school curriculum providing the participants
with an array of life skills that empower and assist them to navigate
their way through life's challenges.
1.4 Ken Barnes is also the President and
Founder of the charity The 100 Black Men of London, an organisation
of professional men who volunteer their time and money to invest
in, empower and educate the youth in their respective communities.
1.5 The organisation's core outputs are
mentoring and education programmes aimed at boys and girls aged
10-16 years old.
2.1 The overrepresentation that exists within
the prison system can be attributed to a number of factors. This
submission intends to focus on the issue of education or subsequent
lack of effective education for African Caribbean students.
2.2 I aim to present causal link between
education and crime and the propensity of those who are excluded
from education to commit crime, as a major contributory factor
in the overrepresentation within the prison population.
2.3 I will also state that a major catalyst
for young Black boys being incarcerated through the court process
is the negative perceptions and low expectation levels officials
have of them.
2.4 These two factors (perception &
expectations) also play a major part in the underachievement of
African-Caribbean students and the failure of the education system
to effectively address the issue.
2.5 I will conclude with a brief outline
of the economic and social cost of crime to society, by the young
people that have been excluded by the education system.
3.1 "The issue of not enough African
Caribbean students achieving their full potential within the education
system is one that should concern us all whatever our ethnicity,
as the negative effects of this underachievement do not discriminate
against race or gender." Some of negative effects of this
underachievement in education are low aspirations, no sense of
purpose, low self esteem and the well documented casual link between
education and crime.
3.2 The great rallying cry of New Labour
on entering office in 1997 was that they would be "tough
on crime and tough on the causes of crime". Lack of adequate
provision of educational strategies to raise the achievement levels
of African Caribbean pupils is a crime in itself. The government
is placing a sticking-plaster over the gaping wound of underachievement
with regards to African Caribbean students.
4.1 New research using a rarely used database
points to a clear link between education and lower levels of youth
offending. The study is based on the Offenders Index Data (OID),
an administrative data source held in the Home Office, which dates
back to 1963 and contains information on all individuals' court
appearances and convictions for "standard list" offences
(such as burglary) in England and Wales.
4.2 Researchers (directed by Dr Leon Feinstein
at the Institute of Education, a co-investigator on the project)
analyzed the piloted introduction of Educational Maintenance Allowances
(EMA) in 1999 to estimate the causal effects of changes in staying
on at school rates on youth crime. (The EMA offered youths from
low income families a weekly financial payment for up to two years,
provided they stayed on in full-time education after compulsory
schooling ends at 16).
4.3 By combining OID and EMA data, researchers
show that total crime, robbery and violent crime fell in areas
where the EMA was introduced relative to those areas that did
not participate in the education subsidy programme.
4.4 This research highlights the importance
of intervention programmes for young people, and demonstrates
the high levels of potential social benefit that may flow from
programmes that encourage greater immediate and future investment
5.1 Education is a potentially large influence
on an individual's propensity to offend. There are a number of
theoretical reasons why greater investment provision of education
through preventative and remedial measures may have an effect
on crime. Feinstein (2002) reports five potential channels where
education can have an effect on individuals' criminal behaviour:
income, parenting, pleasure, patience and risk aversion. Education
also increases the cost associated with incarceration, since it
increases the value of any time foregone (Lochner, 2004).
5.2 Economists have long hypothesized that
education may reduce the probability that an individual will engage
in activities that generate negative externalities. Crime is one
such negative externality with enormous social costs. If education
reduces crime, then schooling will have social benefits that are
not taken into account by individuals. In this case, the social
return to education may exceed the private return. Given the large
social costs of crime, even small reductions in crime associated
with education could be economically important.
6.1 In your press notice for this enquiry
it stated that you will be "focusing particularly on public
perceptions of criminality among young black people". It
then went on to state that, "It is common in the media and
elsewhere for a connection to be made between young black people
and criminal behaviour. However, the evidence for this connection
6.2 Even though you state that the evidence
is contested, there is a prevailing perception in society that
most African Caribbean students are likely to not only fail within
the education system but also that they have a propensity to commit
crime. This perception is engrained in the reality of many of
the judges, officials and educators that come in contact with
6.3 I believe the question of perception
which leads to differential expectations is fundamental to the
success or failure of African Caribbean students within the school
system. When an individual holds negative perceptions of African
Caribbean students invariably leads to lower expectations from
6.4 An individual's ability to communicate
low expectations has more power to limit a person's achievement
than communicating high expectations has to raise their performance.
6.5 Most schools would claim to hold high
expectations for all their students. In reality, however, what
is professed is not always practised. Although some schools and
teachers maintain evenly high expectations for all students, others
have "great expectations" for particular sections of
the student population but minimal expectations for others.
6.6 The expectations teachers have for their
students and the assumptions they make about their potential have
a tangible effect on student achievement. Research "clearly
establishes that teacher expectations do play a significant role
in determining how well and how much students learn" (Jerry
6.7 Students tend to internalize the beliefs
teachers have about their ability. Generally, they rise or fall
to the level of expectation of their teachers ... When teachers
believe in students, students believe in themselves.
6.8 Conversely, when students are viewed
as lacking in ability or motivation and are not expected to make
significant progress, they tend to adopt this perception of themselves.
Regrettably, too many African Caribbean students discover or perceive
that their teachers consider them incapable of handling demanding
work. Teachers' expectations for students whether high or low
can become a (SFP) self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, students
tend to give to teachers as much or as little as teachers expect
6.9 What characteristics influence expectations?
SFP research (Good, 1987) shows that teachers form expectations
of and assign labels to people based upon such characteristics
as body-build, gender, race, ethnicity, given name and/or surname,
attractiveness, dialect, and socioeconomic level, among others.
Once we label a person, it affects how we act and react toward
that person. "With labels, we don't have to get to know the
person. We can just assume what the person is like" (Oakes,
6.10 The self-fulfilling prophecy works
two ways. Not only do teachers form expectations of students,
but students form expectations of teachers using the same characteristics
described above (Hunsberger & Cavanagh, 1988).
6.11 This perception of their teacher's
expectations is reinforced to me on a regular basis in my interactions
with many of the pupils I come in contact with. Too many of them
believe that their teachers do not expect them to do well at school
and according to the testimonies of many of the boys this message
is often reinforced verbally to them.
6.12 My work within the schools system delivering
life skills training often raises this question "why is it
that many of the young men in my sessions that have been labelled
disruptive, rude and disrespectful display an awareness, maturity
and understanding that contradicts the original profile given
of them"? These young men seem confident, articulate and
ready to learn.
6.13 What creates the disparity between
the young Black boy's attitude and behaviour in his lessons and
my life skills mentoring sessions? I believe that ability is not
the determining factor at play here; in my experience it has more
to do with perception and expectation levels. From the moment
I come in contact with my students I communicate high levels of
expectations to my students, this I believe has had a positive
effect on their attitude and overall mindset.
6.14 My empirical findings on perception
and expectations concur with a recent study, conducted under the
direction of the Mayor's London Development Agency and an advisory
board led by MP Diane Abbott, the focus groups reached a wide
degree of agreement: "The consensus was that low teacher
expectations played a major part in the underachievement of African
6.15 The issue of perception is one that
not only affects a teacher's ability to teach a child but also
a child's ability to learn from and be taught by a teacher.
6.16 In October 2005 a poll by c-a-n-i of
over 400 children aged 12-16 illustrates how a child's perception
of their teachers may have an affect on their learning. It showed
that even though the overwhelming majority of children considered
a role model to be "someone who they admired and respected,
someone who impacts your life in a positive way" but they
did not consider their teachers to be role models.
6.17 A child cannot learn effectively from
someone whom they do not admire or even more importantly respect,
as much as a teacher cannot teach effectively a child he/she does
6.18 Could teacher perceptions and expectations
attribute to young Black boys being excluded more than their white
counterparts. I believe the answer is an overwhelming "YES".
7. SCHOOL EXCLUSIONS
7.1 Exclusion is at times the easiest option
when you consider the drain on resources in terms of human and
financial capital a child perceived as being disruptive and unable
or unwilling to learn is on an already stretched school.
7.2 Figures from the Office of National
Statistics show that in 2003-04 pupils from Black Caribbean, Other
Black and Mixed White and Black Caribbean groups were among the
most likely to be permanently excluded from schools in England.
7.3 The permanent exclusion rates for pupils
from the Other Black, Black Caribbean and Mixed White and Black
Caribbean groups were 42 pupils per 10,000, 41 per 10,000 and
37 per 10,000 respectively. These were up to three times the rate
for White pupils (14 pupils per 10,000).
7.4 A MORI 2003 Youth Survey, Youth Justice
Board conducted a survey of young people in mainstream school
and excluded young people and found:
60% of excluded young people say
they have committed an offence in the last 12 months.
Common offences committed by excluded
offenders are: more likely to hurt someone but not leading to
them needing medical attention (62%) and carrying a knife (62%).
Violent crime has risen among mainstream
and excluded young offenders. These offences such as assaulting
or threatening others, continue to be more prevalent among excluded
7.5 A 2004 report entitled Fear and Fashion:
The use of knives and other weapons by young people highlighted
Excluded young people appear more
likely to experience crime in the local area where they live and
are more likely to carry weapons.
46% of excluded young people had
admitted having carried a weapon compared to just 16% of those
Young people who have been excluded have more
of a propensity to commit crime and at times violent crime.
8. ECONOMIC AND
8.1 The cost of such crimes to society can
be high, according to a 2005 Home Office report The economic
and social costs of crime against individuals and households 2003-04:
Vehicle theft of vehicles £4.7K
Burglaries an average of £2.3K.
Violence against the person around
£19K per incident.
8.2 Overall the report estimates the cost
of crime in England and Wales to be £60 billion. The youth
court process takes four months on average, from arrest to sentence
and the process costs are around £2,500 for each young person
8.3 The average cost to house a youth offender
is around £30,000 per year. When you take these costs into
consideration which excludes the emotional and mental costs incurred
by the victims of crime from an excluded young person it can be
very costly to society indeed.
8.4 Calculating the social savings from
the crime reduction associated with underachievement is crucial
in the political motivation to make the correct investment of
time, money and resources into the longstanding issue of the underachievement
of African Caribbean students.
9.1 I truly believe that if the issue of
the perception and expectations within the education system is
addressed, this action will have a positive ripple effect on the
aspirations and academic achievements of African Caribbean students.
9.2 This in turn would potentially have
an affect on the number of African Caribbean students entering
the criminal justice system. This would be a positive outcome
for all concerned, especially when you consider that in a 2004
report by The Racial Justice Gap "Race and the Prison Population
Briefing Smart Justice" it states that, "Black and Minority
Ethnic groups are overrepresented at all stages of the criminal
justice system from stop and search to custody, yet self-report
studies show that there is little difference in offending rates
between ethnic groups". Could perception and expectations
contribute to this overrepresentation?
9.3 I live by the philosophy of the three
P's, "Perception, Perspective and Possibilities". As
adults we tend to rarely challenge our perceptions of issues,
we just take them as a given. This reluctance to see things in
a different way from how we have always thought restricts our
perspective on the issue, which in turn limits the potential opportunities
that can be derived.
9.4 Let's challenge our perceptions, change
our perspective and open up a world of new possibilities for African
Caribbean students and many of the stakeholders in educational
and judicial life.
10.1 To counter the many negative reports
on why and how African Caribbean students fail in the school system,
we recommend that research be carried out and published on the
percentage of African Caribbean students that do succeed in school,
like the Menelik Collymore, of Archbishop Tenison's School, in
Kennington, South London, a three times gold winner of the UK
Maths Challenge 2007.
10.11 What are the factors that allow these
students to grow and develop to their full potential within the
10.2 We recommend that all NQT's and existing
teachers involved with BME students undergo training and development
in the areas of communicating with BME groups and perceptions/expectations
10.3 To encourage greater long-term investment
in education. We recommend a specially designed Role Model Intervention
Programme involving a range of successful Black adults.
10.31 The aim of this programme would be
to expose and enlighten African Caribbean students starting from
Key stage 2, right through to key stage 4 to the benefits and
(ROI) return on investment formal education can bring.
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