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RAISING ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMALI PUPILS: School Responses Feyisa Demie- Head of Research & Statistics, Lambeth LA Christabel McLean- Education Advisor, Lambeth.

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Presentation on theme: "RAISING ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMALI PUPILS: School Responses Feyisa Demie- Head of Research & Statistics, Lambeth LA Christabel McLean- Education Advisor, Lambeth."— Presentation transcript:

1 RAISING ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMALI PUPILS: School Responses Feyisa Demie- Head of Research & Statistics, Lambeth LA Christabel McLean- Education Advisor, Lambeth LA Raising Achievement of Somali Pupils Conference 16th October 2007, Lambeth Town Hall

2 WHY SOMALI ACHIEVEMENT CONFERENCE? Lambeth Raising Achievement Projects Research Projects completed: Raising Achievement of Black Caribbean Pupils – 2003 Raising Achievement of Mobile Pupils – 2004 Raising Achievement of Portuguese Pupils – 2005 Achievement of African Heritage Pupils – 2006 Projects in Progress 2006/2008 Raising Achievement of Somali Pupils /7 Raising Achievement of White British Pupils – 2007/8

3 QUOTATIONS Somali pupils lagging behind other ethnic groups (TES 7 September 2007) ‘The worryingly low achievement levels of many Somali pupils in English schools has been masked by Government statistics that fail to distinguish between Black African ethnic groups’ (BERA Press Statement, 2 Sep 2007) ‘No national statistics on the Somali population and no one knows the number of Somalis in Britian. ( Raising Achievement of Somali Pupils: Challenges and school responses, Research Report, Lambeth LA, July 2007 )

4 Somali Population Estimates and National Concerns: Data Issues National statistics are unreliable. For example, 2001 Census reported about 43,000 – But recent estimates range from 95,000 to 250,0000 (Lewis 2002; Harris 2004 and BBC 2004). In UK since 19 th century- Mainly in Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, London, Tower Hamlets, Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Leicester. Somali population statistics have been complicated by the problem of categorising different African ethnic groups including Somali within broadly defined ‘Black’ or ‘Black African’ groups.

5 Underachievement Debate and National Concerns: GCSE 5+A*-C Issues Black Caribbean, African and Somali pupils lag far behind the average achievement of their peers. Gap in achievement is growing. Key questions- -Why are they are underachieving - What are the strategies used by schools to raise achievement???

6 Aims of the Research 1.To examine the school experiences of Somali heritage pupils in schools. 2.To examine the achievement of Somali heritage pupils at the end of KS2, KS3 and KS4. 3.To identify reasons for underachievement. 4.To explore strategies that need to be taken to raise achievement.

7 Research Methods: Three Complementary Methodological Approaches Firstly KS2, KS3 and GCSE statistical trends and patterns of performance are analysed. Secondly, using an ethnographic approach, detailed case study research was carried out in 8 schools. A structured questionnaire was used to interview headteachers, teachers, parents and pupils to gather evidence on barriers to learning, the school’s links with parents, parents’ and pupils’ views about the school. Thirdly, parent, pupil and community focus groups were carried out to ascertain views and to identify whether their experiences mirrored the views of participants in the case study interviews.

8 LA Context: Background Data 1.LA school population background data: 4% of school population is Somali. 24% Black African. 20% Black Caribbean. 19% White British. 6% Portuguese. 2.Somali school population: 1000 Somali pupils in LA schools in % on FSM at GCSE and 82% at KS2. 88% of Somali pupils are not fully fluent in English. 23% stage 1- beginner. 37% stage 2 - considerable support. 27% stage 3 - some support and becoming confident. 12% - fully fluent in English.

9 LA Context: Growth of Somali School Population in Lambeth

10 Somali Pupils Attainment in Lambeth: KS1, KS2, KS3 and GCSE Results 2006 KS1 (2b+)KS2 (level 4+)KS3 (level 3+)KS4 White British 71%82%69%53% African inc. Somali* 61%74%66%59% Caribbean 57%69%61%52% Portuguese 42%63%64%35% Somali 44%60%38%33% Lambeth average 61%77%68%54%

11 KS2 Performance by Level of Fluency in English in Lambeth 2006 Stages of Fluency in English NoEnglishMathsScienceAverage Stage 1 - Beginner 70%14%29%14% Stage 2 – considerable support 2821%29%39%30% Stage 3 – some support 3067%70% 69% Stage 4 – Fully fluent 1292%75%83%

12 KS2 Performance by Level of Fluency in English (Average L 4+) in Lambeth

13 Pupil Mobility and Somali GCSE Attainment (5+A*-C) in Lambeth

14 Somali KS2 and GCSE Performance by Gender – 2006 KS2 (level 4+) GCSE (5+A*-C) All pupils60%35% Boys55%40% Girls67%29% Gap12%-11%

15 Improvement in KS2 in Lambeth Main Ethnic Group Average 2005 Average 2006 Improvement African inc. Somali76%74%-2% Somali47%60%13% Caribbean68%69%1% White British81%83%2% Portuguese63%77%14% All Pupils 75%77%2%

16 GCSE Improvement Rate of Main Ethnic Groups Main Ethnic Group % Change African inc. Somali57%59%+2% Somali12%33%+21% Caribbean43%52%+9% White British46%53%+7% Portuguese37%35%-2% All Pupils52%54% +2%

17 Somali Pupils KS2, KS3 and GCSE Performance in London Schools 2006 KS2 (Level 4)KS3 (Level 5)GCSE (5+A*-C) White British Chinese Indian Pakistani Bangladeshi Black Caribbean African inc. Somali Somali* All pupils807457

18 Somali Pupils Performance in London Schools: KS2 Results (L 4+)

19 Somali Pupils Achievement in London Schools: GCSE Results 5+A*-C 2006

20 Conclusions from Data and Implications for Case Study Research? Lambeth and London data, without doubt, confirms Somali children were underachieving but the latest data suggests they have made good improvement. Key questions- - Why are they are underachieving? - What are the strategies used by schools to raise achievement?

21 Reasons for Underachievement: Language Barriers Many Somali children are beginners in the English language. Many Somali parents can’t speak / read English. Parents are not able to support children with homework. “Some parents do not know how to help. It is the English language that is the issue. They need help with the language. (Somali Community Leader) The Somali community in the UK speaks Somali language in their homes. “If they get support with their language they can do everything better. Education is important, you can’t live without education, it’s for the future.” (Parent) 87% are on stage 1-3 level and not fully fluent in English.

22 Reasons for Underachievement: Lack of Understanding of British education system Education system: children pass from stage to stage according to their age in UK but in Somalia according to their ability. Little or no educational experience before arriving to UK: “It is unknown what type of schooling children coming from Somalia have had, whether it is rural where they have spent time growing things or city based or whether it has been maybe more consistent. Many Somali children find it difficult to fit into routines e.g. sitting quietly in the classroom, the school ethic”. (Headteacher) Many Somali parents have a lack of knowledge about the school system. Most parents don’t understand levels (1-8) as measurement of their child’s progress. Parents often do not know what the school expects from them: “Parents often see the home / school agreement as an added pressure or blame culture.” (Teacher)

23 Reasons for Underachievement: Lack of Role Models, Single Parents and Poverty Factors There are few positive male role models. Few fathers take part in their children’s school life: “our children do not have any role models.” (parent). Unemployment rate of Somalis is 82%. Many arrivals are refugees. Poverty factor: 92% of KS2 and 100% GCSE pupils were on FSM. Many families are headed by women (20-70% Rutter (2004:4). “It is difficult if it is just mum at home with 5 or 6 children”. (Community representative). Overcrowding and housing problems: Many Somali families live in overcrowded accommodation. A typical Somali family can have six children. Pupil mobility is an issue. “I was in my current school from Year 2 but before that I was in Leicester and then we moved to Northampton. I have been to four schools”. (Somali pupil).

24 School Strategies: Parental Engagement Schools enable Somali parents to “engage with the system and make the most of the system”. In one school ESOL classes “helped give Somali mothers a presence in the school. They came on masse and then started to come to other things”. (Teacher). English language support is strong and used to engage parents. Somali parents value education very highly. Many schools confirmed that: ‘Somali parents are educated and articulate; they help with homework. Even one who doesn’t speak English is still very involved and wants the best for her child’. A Year 6 teacher described one family as “having high aspirations for themselves as parents and their children, they have a thirst for knowledge”. Somali parents feel valued and respected by the school. Schools have very strong links with Somali community groups.

25 School Strategies: Effective Support for EAL The schools recognised that proficiency in English was the key to educational success for their bilingual learners. EMAG funding was used to meet the needs of early stage learners of English. Teaching strategies to engage EAL learners have been carefully planned in all the case study schools. One member of staff confirmed that : “The EAL pilot project which promotes talk partners, talking first and talking frames has moved the school and the Somali pupils on. Talking models and the school ethos encourages them to talk in Somali which they are not embarrassed to do.” (Teacher).

26 School Strategies: Effective Support for EAL (continued) In another school the EMAG co-ordinator has moved away from the model of taking small groups out of the classroom, to working in class with teachers by peer teaching and planning with one teacher per half term, supporting teachers to support groups: “They are building up their practice with talk partners, collaborative groups, visual curriculum and planned specific language structures per lesson - this leads to academic language / talk for writing. Teachers here are positive - people are building a little more into their daily practice.” Students are supported with their English language development through: “An English language assessment for new arrivals which is done on arrival”. “Bilingual Somali translators help in any translations for pupils and parents”. “An after school homework club for bilingual students and Somali children”. “Parents’ literacy classes, lunchtimes clubs and after school clubs”. “Somali pupils are supported individually in class and bilingual resource packs are provided by schools, including books’. (Teacher)

27 School Strategies: Effective Use of Diverse Workforce Schools have a diverse workforce. Staff of African heritage are represented across the school and within the leadership team.

28 School Strategies: Effective Use of Relevant Inclusive Curriculum Schools are good in using an inclusive curriculum that meets the needs of African and Somali heritage students. Schools have no problem in questioning the national curriculum. African and Somali experience is used to enrich the curriculum in art, dance, music, geography, history and technology. Headteachers encourage teachers to use their creative intuition to deepen the quality of learning: “Our curriculum is very structured and planned carefully and we create time for staff to come together collectively to discuss EAL and speaking and listening strategies”. (Headteacher)

29 School Strategies: Effective Use of Data for Self-Evaluation Use of performance data for school improvement is a strength of the schools. Data is used as a driving force for raising standards. Schools have well developed pupil tracking systems and have detailed CATs, KS2, KS3 and GCSE assessment data with background data such as ethnicity, language spoken, EAL level of fluency in English, date of admission, attendance rate, eligibility for free school meals, SEN stage, mobility rate, years in school, which teacher’s class was attended, attendance rate, types of support and postcode data. “Data is critical for raising standards. Without data it is difficult to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the school and track individual students’ performance to improve teaching and learning.”. (Deputy Headteacher)

30 Conclusions London data and evidence from case study schools have shed light on issues that were poorly understood in English schools. Generally Somali children were underachieving but the latest data suggests they have made good improvement. One of the main reasons for underachievement is the Language barrier - 87% of Somali pupils in one case study LA schools are not fluent in English. The main reasons for Somali pupil underachievement are the language barrier, low expectations, economic deprivation, poor housing, overcrowding, a disrupted or non existent prior education and parental lack of understanding of the British education system. The case study schools have adopted a number of strategies to overcome some of the barriers to achievement including parental engagement, effective use of a more diverse workforce, developing an inclusive ethos and inclusive curriculum, effective support for EAL pupils and effective use of data for self- evaluation.

31 RECOMMENDATIONS It is important that the DCSF collect this data as part of national data collections and also draw on the best practice in this field which has been developed in certain schools and local authorities. Schools and LAs need to use precise and appropriate categories, regardless of DCSF requirements. Extend Lambeth research into other London schools to get more insight into what works with Somali pupils. Raise schools, LA and parent awareness of the key issues through effective use of data and dissemination of the findings.

32 End of presentation – Thank you Contact details: Feyisa Demie, Head of Research and Statistics, Lambeth CYPS, Canterbury Crescent, London SW9 7QE Acknowledgements: The work on Raising Achievement of Somali Children in Lambeth is supported by the Walcot Education Foundation, Lambeth Council and Clapham Park Project. We would like to thank for their financial support. Special thanks also go to the 8 Lambeth case study schools, pupils, parents and teachers involved in the project including Lilian Baylis, Stockwell Park, Woodmansterne, Loughborough, Hitherfield, Larkhall, Richard Atkins and Glenbrook School.


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