Ethnic minority education projects face review

Pupils celebrate at Edenham High Pic: Croydon Council

Plans by Croydon Council to cut funding for community education projects and student mentoring aimed at helping ethnic minority pupils have been condemned by the Labour opposition.

Croydon say the reductions are possible because of an improvement in results in schools.

According to a report to be considered by the council’s Cabinet next Monday, a review is to take place of its Education Community Grants Programme, which offers help to voluntary support for ethnic minority students. And the report also says that from January 2013, the budget for mentoring programmes that help ethnic minorities will be cut down.

The report says a number of Croydon schools have developed “programmes and skills that allow them to ensure first-class support available” for all of their students, including ethnic minority groups.

According to Croydon, the percentage of primary schools judged good or better by Ofsted has been rising steadily, with 56 per cent rated good or better in 2010/2011 and 64 per cent in 2011/2012. Similar results were achieved by secondary schools, with 68 per cent rated good or better in 2010/2011 and 76 per cent in 2011/2012.

The  Council claims that majority of voluntary organizations that will lose funding were only getting “relatively small contributions of a few thousand pounds per year”

Councillor Tim Pollard, cabinet member for children, families and learning at Croydon Council, said: “Whilst I certainly understand from our consultation that some of the groups who are losing funding may feel the impact of this decision, overall I believe that it is right for the council to invest in improving the capacity of schools to deliver these services directly, rather than relying on others to provide the extra support that these young people often need.”

The decision to reduce the budget has been criticized by  Kathy Bee, the shadow cabinet spokeswoman for learners. “While some ethnic minority pupils do well, my concern is that there are still some ethnic groups that perform under the Croydon average. The data presented by  Croydon Council has ignored that.

“Instead of cutting the funding they should have been more creative and used this money to address the remaining issues. All these funds have played a significant role in the attainment of these ethnic minorities, and if the funds are cut they will be back to square one.

“All of these groups are in the North of the borough and the councilors who are making the decisions are in the South of the borough. They do not have experience with these issues. The council does not enough about the community and the most affected areas. They are not looking closely enough at the issue”.

Nero Ughwujabo, chairman of Croydon’s Black and Minority Ethnic forum, told ELL they are also strongly opposing the cuts and have officially expressed their concern to the council.

“It will be premature to cut funding to these groups particularly at the time when the borough is recovering from the riots and unemployment levels amongst young people are really high. We need to be doing everything possible to provide the best opportunities for young people to progress. Cutting the budget is doing the opposite.”







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