The underachievement of White working class boys & Black British/ Caribbean boys is creating a cohort of excluded children, who are placed at a severe disadvantage when entering adult life. Parents and the community are eager for a solution.
The News Shopper reports that a local group called Diaspora is hoping to open a free school specialising in Lewisham teaching vocational skills to boys. On their website, they say:
Lewisham is a large net exporter of pupils to other boroughs and also has one of the highest unemployment rates in London. Children are leaving primary school without the basic skills to follow the curriculum set in secondary school in turn this results in them leaving secondary school where without the relevant life skills for success.
Vocational learning at school is under-appreciated and under-provided in Britain, compared for example, with the German system.
For some people, the acknowledgement that different people have different aptitudes seems to be an admission of defeat - encouraging people to study plumbing rather than History is seen as pigeon-holing people, in a way that - say - encouraging people to specialise in music isn't. That's wrong-headed. So this is an interesting idea, although it comes with all the usual caveats about the viability and desirability of the free school principle.