"BLACK SPECIAL NEEDS KIDS FAILED BY SCHOOLS"
Updated: Mar 5
"Parents reveal struggle to get assessment and support"
It really does feel like the cogs in the wheel have started turning in unveiling some of the systemic racism surrounding the misdiagnosis and exclusions of Black children.
I really think, it’s time to face up to the fact that Local Authorities and professionals such as Educational Psychologists are part of the “systemic cogs that enable and mask exclusion”.
Claire Stewart-Hall/Equitable Coaching in a recent publication "Equity in Education and Society" described these cogs as "institutional racism, policy and teacher racial illiteracy in schools.”
Recently we also saw this article about schools in Wales:
In June and July 2022 Schools in Wales were accused of “ignoring or denying racism," according to a UK equality charity.
“Teachers in Wales are getting anti-racism training as schools try to attract more diverse staff” Following the murder of George Floyd, in 2020 many have called for “racism and the contributions of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to be taught in schools.”
Family leave Wales after girl faces racism at school
In my Six Stages Framework Conceptual Framework, "Ignoring or denying racism" occurs on Stages 1 and 2 of the Six Stages Framework.
Check out the stages:
It's important that teachers and other education professionals such as Educational Psychologists are supported in exploring and understanding where they are in their journey towards understanding and dealing with racism. Currently in my view many Educational Psychologists are also at stages 1 and 2 of the Six Stages Framework and we have a long way to go if we are to make our Educational Psychology practice antiracist.
“Pupils who spoke to BBC Wales described their experiences of racist bullying, with one saying he wanted "everyone to feel safe", while a teacher spoke of feeling alone, and hoped the training would help.
My view is that very little will change and that progress will continue to be slow until those who are charged with supporting schools explore their own racist behaviours (and by that I am talking about racism as outlined on the Prejudice Racism Spectrum ie all forms of racism including denial and ignorance as well as micro-aggressions to high key racism.)
Check out more details about the Six Stages Framework's Prejudice Racism Spectrum
Professional groups working with schools need to recognise their role in perpetuating the racism that Black and ethnic minority pupils experience. The work has to start with these professional groups so that they are better placed to offer support and challenge to schools in this area.
The role of Ofsted is also important and more inspections need to explore the experiences and educational outcomes of Black children. The Ofsted Inspection framework is currently failing these children and it needs to place greater emphasis on exploring teacher racial literacy as well as the capacity of the Local Authority and its services to support and challenge schools in this area.
Further, more needs to be done at the initial training stages for both teachers and educational psychologists to develop racial literacy of these professionals including their understanding and ability to recognise their own biases and racist behaviours. The focus needs to be on enabling these professions to foster anti- racist practices not only in schools but also within their own professional groups and taking action in ensuring positive outcomes for Black children and other marginalised groups. It is not enough to have just a couple of days special antiracism seminars on initial training courses if we are to promote the competencies and skills required in this area.
Thank you to Frances Akinde for her recent article which also pointed to the work which needs to be done in relation to SEND and Race. Thanks also for citing me.
(See link below, also published in www.teachingtimes.com )
"Addressing barriers caused by the intersectionality between RACE and SEND in UK Education. An urgent call to action."
"We must address the structural barriers and discriminations that are at the heart of inequalities in Education. If these issues are not addressed and actions not enforced at government level, students from marginalised backgrounds who are also SEND, will continue to face disadvantage and discrimination. We know that inequalities experienced in school continue into adulthood and impact on outcomes and inclusion…..
In addition, we must insist on antiracism training for teachers and educational psychologists to better understand the issues of bias and explore the ways in which professionals may inadvertently discriminate (Dr Shungu Hilda M'gadzah, 2022)"
Frances Akinde also includes this paragraph about previous Educational and Child Psychology special themed journals on antiracism.
( Added after original publication) In 1999 M’gadzah and Gibbs produced a themed journal of the British Psychological Society’s Education and Child Psychology entitled ‘Challenging Racism and Inequality in Education and Child Psychology; in the editorial they called for educational psychologists (and schools) to critically review their practice. In 2015, Williams et al in another themed journal, ‘Race, Culture and Ethnicity in Educational Psychology’ highlighted the slow progress made in this area and the need to “reflect on our effectiveness in acknowledging and addressing the experience of minority communities within educational psychology practice…..
Another key publication was in the Guardian Newspaper exposing racism experienced by Black children in Education- sometimes at the hands of Educational Psychologists.
Black people who were labelled ‘backward’ as children seek justice for lifelong trauma
Exclusive: Group brought up in 60s and 70s want redress for ‘educationally subnormal’ label applied disproportionately to black children.
I wrote this post in Linkedin on 27th February 2023:
"It is so sad and frightening Omer Abdi. These children and adults have been let down and many continue to be let down everyday.
Sometimes. I think it is easier to focus on the police and issues of stop and search and treatment of children when right under our very noses "everyday racism" at the hands of so called "nice professionals" goes undetected.
Do you know that there are many within my profession of educational psychology who do not consider it their role to challenge racism in schools as they view these to be social issues. So they keep their heads down rather than offering challenge where it's needed. Others just don't know how to challenge but do nothing to get the support they need in this area.
It's no wonder that educational psychologists are being criticised and this news report is exposing racism experienced by Black children in Education- sometimes at the hands of Educational Psychologists.
We need to wake up to what's happening in some schools and the decision making of some professionals who continue to misdiagnose Black children and limit their educational and social outcomes.
There will be another news report-which I was interviewed for- out shortly which talks about these issues.
We need to do better and we need to shine a light on so called "nice professionals" who prefer to focus only on literacy and attainment rather than the holistic needs of the child."
Check out related posts
Inclusion Psychologists Limited Services and Future Blogs
I offer many services to support parents and professional in this area including counselling, coaching and assessments. Check out below.
I also offer various free workshops on Eventbrite on antiracism and "In what ways do we discriminate" including a workshop for parents to support them in understanding their rights and the responsibilities of schools and other professionals and how they can work with schools to support their children's needs and remove barriers to learning- which in many cases include racial barriers and discrimination.
Check out my free seminars collection on Eventbrite
I will be writing more blogs and posts about what I view to be the role of Educational Psychologists and Local Authorities in this area and in ensuring positive outcomes for Black and ethnic minority children.
In the meantime check out my most recent related publications
Check out my blogs/ articles/ papers
If Racism was a Virus...How would we eradicate it
The asymptomatic racists
Check out my book:
How can we create a workplace where 'masks of tolerance' do not exist?
Ekua Cant and Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah invite HR leaders to reflect on how to embrace leadership and create a truly inclusive working culture.
5th Jan 2023
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