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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 15:43 GMT
Trusts 'can deliver black power'
Trevor Phillips
Critics of the plans 'ignore the experience of Black Britons in education'
Proposals for trust schools could deliver "black power", the head of the Commission for Racial Equality said.

Trevor Phillips told the Guardian the plans would help those children "most betrayed by the school system" and prevent schools becoming "ghettoised".

The government is encouraging state schools to become independent trusts, which would control their admissions.

But it is facing rebellion by some MPs, who believe the plans will lead to an increasingly selective school system.

'Expertise and commitment'

The government's White Paper plans seek to increase parental involvement in the education system, by allowing them to form parent councils and compelling local education authorities to consider any parental demand for a new local school.

Mr Phillips said the trust school could be a starting point to address under-achievement among black pupils and increase black community involvement in the school system, which was currently "marginalised, with the odd parent governor here, a rare head teacher there".

"Ironically, the real potential of this White Paper could be to deliver true black power," he said.

The CRE chairman added: "Imagine that we could harness black parents' expertise and commitment more directly into the school system".

'Outnumbered and outgunned'

"And imagine networks of urban schools that deliver the high standards and personalised education that ethnic minority parents have been demanding for years."

The government's "internal division and bungled presentation" should not detract from the potential of the plans to deliver what ethnic minority children need, he said.

He pointed to the experience of supplementary schools, which attract more volunteers from ethnic minority parents.

It should not be assumed that black parents do not care about their children's education, he added. They may simply feel "outnumbered and outgunned" in mainstream schools.

Mr Phillips has previously warned that schools need to do more to promote racial integration and avoid a slide into increasing segregation.

Profile: Trevor Phillips
08 Oct 04 |  UK

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