Jessica Perera has supported BLAM UK for the past year, as a volunteer school exclusions advocate. She has witnessed first hand how the system unfairly punishes Black students from inner city london who are faced with exclusions. As an advocate, she supported one family who were forced to become part of the PRU( Pupil Referral Unit) system by a way of a managed move.
The case Perera worked on is not unique, many young Black boys are funneled in the PRU system. The report drafted by Perera for the Institute of Race Relations further highlights this racialised injustice, alongside the effects of gentrification and privatisation of the education system. The report also brings to light the following key inequities of the government backed business of expanding the PRU sector, by rebranding it as Alternative Provision and privatising it through academisation. We should be concerned as only 4% of students in Alternative Provision’s leave with GCSE’s. The School Exclusions policy we have in place in the U.K is allowing the educational attainment gap to further widen on class and racial lines, they are also playing a key role in what we term in the UK as the Pru- Prison Pipeline.
The IRR’s new paper, How Black Working-Class Youth are Criminalised and Excluded in the English School System: A London Case Study, reveals that over the past forty years, exclusion from mainstream school has coincided with systematic ‘educational enclosure’.
Read the full report here
Jessica Perera is an Associate Researcher at the Institute of Race Relations and author of The London Clearances: Race, Housing and Policing, published in 2019. She is also an Economic and Social Research Council-funded DPhil candidate at the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Professor Danny Dorling.