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Race and Education 2012


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Young, gifted and black in a (white and)changing landscape - What can a college do?

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Race and Education 2012

  1. 1. Young, gifted and black in a (white and) changing landscape What can a college do? Brenda Weston Equality Development/Policy and research officer
  2. 2. Labour Equality Act: Coalition government • Mismatch between Equality Act and coalition priorities • ‘Equality Strategy’ - shifts the equality agenda • New policy landscape an obstacle course for progressing equality • Localism - lack of focus on social justice and equalities
  3. 3. How the landscape is changing • Deficit reduction, public spending cuts • Big Society/Localism • Diversification in major service provision (NHS, schools, work programme) • Cutting Red Tape/bonfire of the quangos • Elected Police Commissioners • ‘Equality’ - reframed and redefined
  4. 4. Deficit reduction and ‘front loaded’ public spending cuts Loss of security and access to support • Disproportionate loss of public sector jobs for BME communities and women • EMA abolished • ESOL cut • Youth services cut / outsourced • BME self-help and support groups (e.g. RECs) folding/ demand for support services increasing • Welfare and legal aid cuts, law centres closing • Public sector E&D specialists redundant/reassigned • Specialist police units threatened/disbanded (hate crime)
  5. 5. The Big (white) Society Risk of exclusion under Localism • Decisions devolved to lowest possible level (LAs, parish councils, ‘neighbourhood groups’) • ‘Communities’ can • Bid to take over public assets and run services • Instigate referendums on local tax and spending (50+% of those voting will decide outcome) • Concerns about • Minority/marginalised people’s’ interests and voices • Scarcity of resources > strains on community cohesion • ‘Neighbourhood group’ accountability/legal responsibilities? • Individuals/equality groups expected to challenge on equality
  6. 6. Diversification of services Responsibility for Equality Duty? • Multiple providers – local / multi-national • Fragmented delivery • Different rules governing provision (free schools, academies; Work Programme providers) • Confusion, lack of consistency, lack of transparency for service users
  7. 7. Cutting Red Tape/bonfire of quangos Reduced capacity /commitment to progress/ enforce equality • Regulatory and enforcement bodies (Audit Commission, EHRC) abolished/weakened • ‘Light touch regulations’ Ofsted, Specific Duties • End of targets and indicators: National Indicators, PSAs, Local Area Agreements, CAAs • Red Tape Challenge - ‘spotlight’ on the Equality Act • Best Value guidance – LA s advised against equality monitoring • Parts of Equality Act abandoned/reversed
  8. 8. Election of police commissioners Politicisation of policing? • Concerns about policing priorities determined by elected individuals • Action on hate crime - locally determined?
  9. 9. Equality reframed: Coalition Equality Strategy Reduced emphasis on race equality • (new approach) “moves away from treating people as groups or ‘equality strands’ and instead recognises that we are a nation of 62 million individuals.” • Concerns about a ‘hierarchy of equality’ - Up: LGB and Trans, gender (in the board room); Down: Race, disability, age, R and B. • Language of ‘equality’ being replaced by ‘fairness’
  10. 10. Implications for BME students A more uncertain world for BME students • Schools - policies on admissions, bullying, equality in practice? • Home – BME job losses, impacts of Welfare Reforms and other cuts • Neighbourhoods - Fewer safe spaces for young people/ getting heard as a minority voice/ less community-based and equalities-aware policing/ fewer BME support organisations/ more racial tensions…? • Access to services and support – more difficult accessing information, advice, advocacy, protection, justice?
  11. 11. SW BME focus group on colleges • Schools and colleges often do not understand BME communities or the needs of BME students • Colleges unwilling to consult BME people about learning needs and aspirations ... • Leads to inability to target courses or design publicity attractive to BME people • Language issues a barrier for some – Celebrate cultural differences – Customise marketing – Improve services for BME students
  12. 12. Colleges - creating a safe and nourishing environment • Inclusive images in all publicity – check your mirror! • Equality monitoring in all management and performance data collection • Facilitate BME student focus and consultation groups • Advertise for staff in BME press • Zero tolerance of bullying and harassment – in practice and in policies • Staff training and awareness of racism and its impacts
  13. 13. .... and say it with posters!
  14. 14. Discussion?