Boys on Track: Improving support for black Caribbean and free school meal-eligible white boys in London

By LKMco (published December 2018)

Boys on Track: Improving support for black Caribbean and free school meal-eligible white boys in London

This report from LKMco, commissioned by the London Greater Authority (GLA) examines how support for white free school meal-eligible (FSM) and black Caribbean boys across London can be improved. While pupils in London are more likely to achieve better outcomes at the end of their education than elsewhere in the country, attainment amongst London’s most disadvantaged youth lags an average 12 months behind their more advantaged peers. In particular, boys in London are less likely to achieve good educational outcomes, are more likely to experience exclusion and have a greater chance of involvement in the criminal justice system. In reading, writing and maths, Black Caribbean boys are 17% points on average behind pupils in London, while white FSM-eligible boys are the lowest attaining of the main ethnic groups in London at both primary and secondary level. This report collated statistics on the FSM and educational performance, conducted an extensive literature review on causes and solutions, interviewed 12 experts, and held six focus groups with young people and two stakeholder steering groups with practitioners and GLA staff.

The authors identified seven ways in which outcomes for black Caribbean and white free school meal-eligible boys can be improved. While all seven are important, many of the experts that took part in this research suggested that mental health and wellbeing be made a key priority. Although there is overlap in the challenges facing white FSM-eligible and black Caribbean boys, practitioners cannot assume that these challenges in London are the same. The seven recommendations made by this report are as follows:

  • Enhancing pupils’ emotional wellbeing and mental health.
  • Working with parents and families, involving them in their children’s education
  • Securing access to high quality early years provision.
  • Raising teachers’ expectations and addressing their biases.
  • Recruiting and retaining a more diverse teaching workforce.
  • Enhancing access to work experience opportunities, careers guidance, and support into employment.
  • Encouraging peer support among young people.

Click here to download the report.