Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

20.  Memorandum submitted by the From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation (FBMF)


Project aims

  FBMF is an independent school having received Ofsted independent school status in September 2004. It was founded in 1996, in response to requests from parents and the community to provide support for black boys of African and Afro-Caribbean descent who were in danger of, or were already educationally and socially excluded. FBMF provides a service for black boys aged 12-16 years and young men 17-21 in its "Lifestyle Management and Self-Development Programs".

Lead organisation(s)

  From Boyhood to Manhood Foundation.

Client group

  The client age group is typically 11-17 years, with the peer mentor scheme targeting 17-21 year olds. Around 150 young people pass through the school each year.

Program delivery

  The FBMF Lifestyle Management program provides basic education in math, english and science, as well as, anger and lifestyle management, community service and extra curricular activities. Students are referred by schools, Pupil Referral Units (PRU's), Youth Offending Team's (YOT), social services, criminal justice system, parents and self-referrals.

  Funding: FBMF is project funded by the Government Office For London, the Greater London Assembly, Southwark Council, Connexions, Community Safety and Peckham Programmes. Its major income is from its services provision to schools.

1.  The main issues you deal with in your work with young people

  2.  Finding sufficient funding to cater our services. We run a full time service which provides full time education, counselling, therapy, mentoring, parenting and positive activities.

  3.  Affording adequate accommodation in order to cater for the educational and training of an increasing number of black males who are 16+. We find if they don't receive adequate support when they leave school, or drop out of further education, many young black males drift into crime or turn to street hustling. It is our experience that with the right support, young men can break out of this cycle of personal and social destruction.

4.  The extent to which you believe there are particular problems affecting young black people, and the reasons for this

5.  Black Boy: Mis-diagnosed with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

  According to a growing chorus of parents, educators and activists whom FBMF work with, far too many confront a stifling kind of bias that destroys their interest in school. This prejudice can have hurtful consequences: cultural insensitivity, lowered expectations, unduly harsh discipline, and the systematic shunting of black boys into remedial or special education classes.

6.  School ignoring their limitation to deal with issues of black males

  Our experience that many schools do not seek the help of outside black organistions when they are dealing with black male issues. In most cases, many schools believe that the issues black males face in school, are no different from other students. The consequences with this stance, is that the school ends up excluding more black males from the classroom and putting them in special educational units. Moreover, schools only seek help, when the young person is in danger of exclusion, involvement in crime, or truancy.

  The types of interventions, which you have found to be most helpful

8.  Complementary parenting

  Trying to provide a secure and nurturing environment, so as to facilitate a successful transition from boyhood to manhood.

9.  Positive Virtues

  Fostering a sense of academic responsibility and the promotion of the values and virtues of education and honest work.

10.  Parenting

  Supporting parents as the young person's first moral teachers, and encouraging parents to support FBMF in its efforts to foster good social and community values.

11.  Collaborative work with Statuaries and Voluntary

  Engaging in collaborative work with other agencies to facilitate a more comprehensive approach in dealing with black youth disaffection, anti-social behaviour, gun, violent and youth crimes.

12.  Constructive Activities

  Providing educational and constructive activities during the school day for long-term school "refusers", and hard to reach 16+.

13.  School Partnerships

  Working with schools in order to prevent exclusions and disruptive behaviour.

14.  Mental Health Intervention

  Providing a safe and caring space where young black males can receive counselling and therapy in order:

    —  To have a feeling of belonging.

    —  Clarify life's dilemmas, which are impacting on the transition from boyhood to manhood.

    —  Non-judgmental support in order to help with issues impacting on SELF and Identity.

    —  Free from labelling, stigmatizing and a sense of not being heard.

August 2006

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