Education: `As a black student, you've got to prove yourself more'

The students' view
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The Independent Online
"I do think that black students sometimes get typecast," says Aron, 15, who attends a science club for black students in Manchester. "It's hard to form individual relationships with a teacher because they think all black students have got behavioural problems - you've got to prove yourself. At my school there's a lot of intake from rough areas, especially black students that get put on report. As an individual, even if you're not like that, the teacher's going to look at you in the same way. You've got to try extra hard."

The African-Caribbean Network for Science and Technology runs the club to support black children in the community. It operates after school and on Saturday mornings, offering tutorials, practical investigations, educational trips and careers advice.

Sade, 12, is in Year 8 and goes to the club twice a week. "The teachers here can listen to us more," she says. "School is more difficult for black kids, because they don't get enough attention. It's a bit the same for the Asian kids, but not as bad. All my teachers are white - I'm the only black child in my class; I sit in the corner on my own."

The service is run for children aged 9 to 19, but parents also have space on the timetable. "We provide education awareness training for black parents," says Liz Rasekoala, the network's spokeswoman. "A lot of them are ignorant about the education system and need to know more to support their children properly."

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