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By February 8, 2009News


Away from all of the recent attention being giving to the snowfall over London, life in the Capital has been going on as normal — and for Boris, that includes preparing to attend a conference on education to be given later this week. Much of the focus at the conference is expected to revolve around exactly what can be done about the current rate of exclusions in London schools — a big issue for Boris, who can’t afford to ignore the fact that almost 1,500 students every year are permanently excluded (expelled, for those who want to cut through the more politically correct newspeak), and approximately 53,000 are suspended.

The problem is clear, and it can only be a good thing that Boris is looking for a solution. The Guardian reports that one of the Mayor’s primary concerns is to have more black teachers in schools, in order to better represent the student population as a whole. This is perhaps an understandable response, as statistics show that students of African or Caribbean descent are three times more likely than white kids to be excluded — figures that make for disturbing reading. However, while that might help black students, is it going to have any effect on the expulsion rates for their Caucasian equivalent? Should we be focusing on solutions that help all children, rather than just a subset of the population, or is it more important to fix what is an obvious discrepancy before looking at the picture as a hole? Whichever option the education system chooses, it’s going to be a big job, but young people have always played a major part in Boris’s policies, and so we can expect the debate top be at the forefront of the media for quite some time.

Is this enough? Should Boris be doing more to help pupils,or is this a good start on which to build in the future?


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