The fourth London Schools and the Black Child conference was held in central London last Saturday, focusing on the continuing inequalities experienced by children of African and Caribbean heritage in schools.
Over 2,000 people attended the event, which was organised by Diane Abbott MP with the support of the mayor of London’s office.
Lord Adonis, the London schools minister, talked about why privatised academy schools are the way forward. These are no solution for any working class child.
Radio 1 DJ Trevor Nelson and Tim Campbell, who won the BBC’s The Apprentice, spoke about how successful they’d become and how they got there simply through sheer hard work and determination.
But nobody talked about the failure of government on this issue and the fact that it is the system that is at fault.
The solutions that were offered were on an individual level—people have to be better parents and young people need to shape up otherwise they only have themselves to blame.
Nobody was talking about the racism that exists in institutions and in wider society and how this impacts on a child’s education.
The Tell It Like It Is campaign, based around the book of the same name, held a workshop at the event. When people blamed the government and the system, it was incredibly well received.
People were angry and wanted to do something, not just talk about it and leave it until next year’s conference.
It was clear there was a desire for people to network with each other around the issues that the book raises and there was huge support for a call for a national demonstration next year.
We sold 45 copies of the book throughout the day.
If you just talk at people for seven hours in a day they can appear to be passive and not interested in action. But when you challenge the problems in society and show people that we have the power to change things, they show that they want to fight for justice.