Presentation on theme: "RAISING ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMALI PUPILS: School Responses"— Presentation transcript:
1RAISING ACHIEVEMENT OF SOMALI PUPILS: School Responses Feyisa Demie- Head of Research & Statistics, Lambeth LAChristabel McLean- Education Advisor, Lambeth LARaising Achievement of Somali Pupils Conference16th October 2007, Lambeth Town Hall
2WHY SOMALI ACHIEVEMENT CONFERENCE? Lambeth Raising Achievement ProjectsResearch Projects completed:Raising Achievement of Black Caribbean Pupils – 2003Raising Achievement of Mobile Pupils – 2004Raising Achievement of Portuguese Pupils – 2005Achievement of African Heritage Pupils – 2006Projects in Progress 2006/2008Raising Achievement of Somali Pupils /7Raising Achievement of White British Pupils – 2007/8
3QUOTATIONSSomali 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)
4Somali 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 19th 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.
5Underachievement Debate and National Concerns: GCSE 5+A Underachievement Debate and National Concerns: GCSE 5+A*-C IssuesBlack 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???
6Aims of the ResearchTo examine the school experiences of Somali heritage pupils in schools.To examine the achievement of Somali heritage pupils at the end of KS2, KS3 and KS4.To identify reasons for underachievement.To explore strategies that need to be taken to raise achievement.
7Research 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.
8LA Context: Background Data 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 2007.100% 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.
9LA Context: Growth of Somali School Population in Lambeth
10Somali Pupils Attainment in Lambeth: KS1, KS2, KS3 and GCSE Results 2006 KS1 (2b+)KS2 (level 4+)KS3 (level 3+)KS4White British71%82%69%53%African inc. Somali*61%74%66%59%Caribbean57%52%Portuguese42%63%64%35%Somali44%60%38%33%Lambeth average77%68%54%
11KS2 Performance by Level of Fluency in English in Lambeth 2006 Stages of Fluency in English NoEnglishMathsScienceAverageStage 1 - Beginner70%14%29%Stage 2 – considerable support2821%39%30%Stage 3 – some support3067%70%69%Stage 4 – Fully fluent1292%75%83%
12KS2 Performance by Level of Fluency in English (Average L 4+) in Lambeth
13Pupil Mobility and Somali GCSE Attainment (5+A*-C) in Lambeth
14Somali KS2 and GCSE Performance by Gender – 2006 KS2 (level 4+)GCSE (5+A*-C)All pupils60%35%Boys55%40%Girls67%29%Gap12%-11%
15Improvement in KS2 in Lambeth Main Ethnic GroupAverage 2005Average2006ImprovementAfrican inc. Somali76%74%-2%Somali47%60%13%Caribbean68%69%1%White British81%83%2%Portuguese63%77%14%All Pupils75%
16GCSE Improvement Rate of Main Ethnic Groups 20052006% ChangeAfrican inc. Somali57%59%+2%Somali12%33%+21%Caribbean43%52%+9%White British46%53%+7%Portuguese37%35%-2%All Pupils54%
17Somali Pupils KS2, KS3 and GCSE Performance in London Schools 2006 KS2 (Level 4)KS3 (Level 5)GCSE (5+A*-C)White British827558Chinese908480Indian8572Pakistani696151Bangladeshi6457Black Caribbean6345African inc. Somali70Somali*4334All pupils74
18Somali Pupils Performance in London Schools: KS2 Results (L 4+)
19Somali Pupils Achievement in London Schools: GCSE Results 5+A*-C 2006
20Conclusions 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?
21Reasons 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.Language issues present barriers to learningFluency in English is essential to succeeding in education. In this regard the Somali community in the UK are disadvantaged compared to a number of other former British Colonies where English is the official language used for administration, business and politics.Most of Somali parents can’t speak/read or write English and use Somali language in their homes and in social situations.A Somali Community Leader expressed parents’ frustration at not been able to help their children with their homework: he said “It’s the language that’s the issue, they might be able to help with the maths but can’t explain it in English”.Language barriers may diminish their willingness to visit the school and speak to the members of staff about their children.Most of the schools don’t have special arrangements to reach out to those parents .
22Reasons 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)Language BarriersThere is a lack of understanding of the British education system.In the UK : children pass from stage to stage according to their ageIn the Somali Ed. System : children pass from stage to stage according to their abilityMost of parents don’t understand NC levels (1-8) as a measurement for child’s progressBecause of language barriers parents often don’t know what the school expects of them, for example Home/School Agreements. One teacher observed that this could be viewed as an added pressure.
23Reasons 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).Reasons for Underachievement:All the indicators relating to child poverty are pertinent to the Somali community, overcrowding, lone parents, large families, and an unemployment rate of 82%.Between 20%-70% of Somali households are being headed by women. This may be as a result of men being killed in Somalia, families being split up as a result of working in the Gulf and also divorce. Few fathers take part in their children’s school lives “many males get homesick, go to community centres and take Khat.. When they get hooked they have mental health problems… they lose their families because of it”.Males ‘displacement’ or ‘limbo is often transmitted to the children. As a result sons attitudes to mothers or even female teachers, can be disrespectful.Our study confirms that many Somali pupils have disjointed family lives. They may have had to leave their parents and come over to the UK with relatives or on their own.The Somali Community generally faces unsettling housing problems when they come to the UK. A large number are refugees or Asylum Seekers, who are not offered refugee status. Most asylum seekers are in temporary accommodation in run down properties, high density estates.Because many are in temporary housing, they can be re-housed several times, disrupting the children’s education. We interviewed a pupil who had moved 8 times throughout England and was now in an LA school.
24School 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.Parental EngagementSchools are working hard to engage Somali parents. As well as termly reports, individual consultations and target setting days, initiatives such as Family Learning sessions and adult education classes such as ESOL and parenting, have developed trust in Somali parents. One school Inclusion Manager stated that ESOL classes helped give Somali mothers a presence in the school.Schools enable Somali parents to engage with the system and make the most of the system. One school does this through a package of support that they provide to parents regarding secondary transfer. This involves early meetings in Year 5 to discuss the process, taking parents to visit local secondary schools, support with application forms and if necessary appeals. Consequently they are enabled to make informed choices. Many schools confirmed that Somali parents are educated and articulate and have high aspirations for themselves as parents and for their children.In one school the PTA is working hard to include more representation of the ethnic mix of the school.
25School 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).Effective support for pupils with English as an additional language.EMAG funding in the case study schools is used effectively to meet the needs of early stage of learners of English.
26School 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)Other successful Teaching strategies to engage EAL learners include peer teaching and carefully planned lessons, to develop confidence: such as using talk partners and talking frames. This leads to the development of academic language and talk for writingPupils and parents are supported with their English language development through:Carefully planned induction of new arrivalsSupport from Bi-lingual Somali translators for pupils and parents.After school homework clubs for bilingual pupils and Somali children.Parents’ literacy classes, lunchtime clubs and after school clubs.
27School 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.Diversity in terms of the range of staff roles , skills and ethnicity has provided good and well co-ordinated support for Somali pupils. One headteacher who recruits his Teaching Assistants and Learning Mentors from the local community prefers “intelligence and capability rather than qualifications”, recognising that many people have not had the life chances which enable them to acquire qualifications that reflect their skills.
28School 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)In all the case study schools there are moves to adapt the curriculum to meet the needs of diverse school communities.In one primary school the development of pupils’ cultural understanding is at the centre of the curriculum.Pupils firmly understand their own cultures and how other cultures may be different.The curriculum has been planned with great care to meet the needs of all pupils and to ensure equality of access and opportunity. Therefore schools do not have a problem in questioning the national curriculum.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 discussed EAL and speaking and listening strategies”..
29School 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)
30ConclusionsLondon 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.
31RECOMMENDATIONSIt 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.The national statistics have many gaps and the unhelpful categories such us Black and the imprecise categories such us Asian and African without the possibilities of distinguishing between for instance Somali and Ibo from Nigeria are unhelpful.The underachievement by many Somali children are real cause for concern and this is an issue that national policy makers, schools and Somali communities must address.
32End of presentation – Thank you Contact details:Feyisa Demie, Head of Research and Statistics, Lambeth CYPS, Canterbury Crescent, London SW9 7QEAcknowledgements: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 includingLilian Baylis, Stockwell Park, Woodmansterne, Loughborough, Hitherfield, Larkhall, Richard Atkins and Glenbrook School.