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The Real Deal: Revisiting Black Girls' Experiences of the British Education System

Inclusive Education as Transformation

Discussant Information

Prof. Dennis Conrad
Department of Inclusive and Special Education State University of New York Potsdam, NY
conradda@potsdam.edu

Author Information:

Dr. Victoria Showunmi
Institute of Education, University of London London
V.Showunmi@ioe.ac.uk

Presentation Information:

Presentation #: 3
Date: 1st June, 2015
Time: 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: KHAIROON EAST (Room 1)

Abstract:

Much of the research funding that has been allocated over the last decade to explore the reasons for the low attainment of minority children and young people has been directed towards African Caribbean, Bangladeshi and in some cases ?Pakistani boys (Gilborn 2007). More recent studies have shifted the focus onto White working class boys (Gilborn 2000). The continuous surge of focus on boys' achievement has left a gender bias. This has created a sense of curiosity - and even some urgency - to investigate Black Minority Ethnic (BME) girls' experiences within the education system. In the ongoing debate over boys' low attainment, it has become commonplace to assume that girls are doing fine in education, and therefore do not warrant educational concern: they are the 'attaining', or even 'over-attaining', girls. While boys continue to provoke anxiety and resources, girls are seen as managing well on their own. (Francis 2010). As a result, there appears to have been a vast amount of research funds allocated to boys, which is leaving a significant gap for researching into girls and women. Notably this gap is not just national but is also being discussed at an international level. According to Johnson (2011) 'despite the significant contributions that African American girls have made towards the advancement of educational equality, and the United States Federal Government's promise of ensuring a quality education for all students, African American girls have been left behind'. That it is all about the boys and not about the girls, is another feature of Francis' (2000) work which argues that more needs to be done to understand the complexities that relate to gender identities. Earlier work carried out by Fuller (1980) who looked at Black girls in a London comprehensive school identified the needs of 'Afro-Caribbean' girls.