How, still, is the Black Caribbean child made educationally subnormal in the English school system?

Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Derron Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abstract

2021 marks the 50th anniversary of Bernard Coard’s path-breaking pamphlet How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System (1971a), a piece celebrated in filmmaker Steve McQueen’s recent award-winning television series, Small Axe (2020). In considering the enduring relevance of How the West Indian Child is Made Educationally Subnormal, this paper offers a critical analysis of the contemporary educational experiences and outcomes of Black Caribbean young people in English schools. We examine the historical and contemporary institutional factors that shape the persistent educational disadvantage Black Caribbean young people experience in England, particularly in secondary schools. We focus specifically on academic tracking, teacher diversity and expectations, and school discipline in order to demonstrate how Coard’s findings remain prescient today and the urgent need to transform the structure and culture of English schools.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEthnic and racial studies
Early online date4 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2021

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