Black fathers urged to encourage sons through education

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Black fathers should take greater responsibility for their sons' education, a union says.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) today published a charter on the issue of underachievement among black boys at its annual conference in Harrogate.

Authors of the charter argue that responsibility needs to be stressed not just to children but to parents as well in order to reduce the number of black children turning to violence and gun crime.

"I think it's nothing short of a national scandal that, 60 years after the Empire Windrush brought some 300 people from the Caribbean to these shores, young black boys, Afro-Caribbean boys, are still underachieving at the rate at which they are," co-author of the charter Professor Gus John said.

The University of Strathclyde lecturer said the educational failings of this group led to "the sort of mayhem in our communities that we have seen in the past weeks", referring to the recent spate of violent deaths among black teenagers.

"In some parts of the country the life expectancy of young Afro-Caribbean males is 25," said Professor John of his home town of Manchester.

NUT general secretary Steve Sinnott also reiterated the importance of responsibility saying: "This has to be a high priority for all of us in education and also it has to be a time now when parents reflect on their contribution to raising the achievement of black Caribbean boys."

"We are saying very clearly that everybody must live up to their responsibilities. That includes the youngsters. They can't turn round and point the finger and blame everybody else. Youngsters have got to take responsibility. Dads have too. Dads: Live up to your responsibilities," he added.

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