Select Committee on Home Affairs Written Evidence

22.  Memorandum submitted by Generating Genius


  Generating genius is a charity set up in 2005 to give bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds a real opportunity to access science education at university level. It was set up by Educationalist Dr Tony Sewell who saw the potential of using the resources and knowledge based in university science departments to support young secondary school children.

  This project aims to encourage higher standards of educational achievement amongst black and minority ethnic groups, in particular 11-14 year old African Caribbean boys, by improving pupils' motivation and self-esteem through the study and learning of science, technology, engineering and medicine.

  Generating Genius is a rolling programme. It recruits, every year, boys into a residential summer school and e-mentoring programme. It will eventually recruit girls but has initially responded to the need to respond to the underachievement of boys from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  This is a science academy which takes 12 year old children and trains them over five years in the arts, discipline and knowledge of research science.


    —  Our vision is to encourage and develop talented boys from a disadvantaged background to aspire to professions in medicine and scientific research.

    —  We want to work in partnership with a number of established university science, engineering and medical departments.

    —  We want to produce a learning model based on a "science academy" that will nurture young scientific minds.

    —  We want to impact the wider school environment by producing leaders who will influence their peers by becoming role models.

  We see this as a model for any serious approach in tackling the problems of black youth. Previous approaches have centred on the "social exclusion" model that has pumped millions in terms of resources into initiatives such as the Ethnic Minority achievement Grant and a host of small short-term crime prevention models.

  One of the reasons why there has been a limited impact in these initiatives on crime levels amongst black youth is that we have failed to do three things:

    1.  Intervene when these boys are young.

    2.  Develop their innate genius.

    3.  Have longitudinal programmes not short-term fixes.

  This is a radical approach, which seeks to find diamonds in the rough. What many of these boys need is a mental engagement at a high level. This will mean serious investment in a programme like ours, to have a serious impact may well cost around six million pounds, but it is far cheaper than what is spent on keeping these boys in the criminal justice system.

  The African Caribbean community needs to have what I call "a momentum of success" where boys from seriously poor backgrounds are given a chance to shine. There are vested interests in social exclusion programmes, mainly because they are job creation schemes. If the Home Office are serious about tackling African Caribbean male disaffection, then back schemes like ours which works with boys from 12 to the university door (and we don't mean the university of crime).

September 2006

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