Updated: Tuesday, 21st November 2017 @ 7:00pm

'Break free and aim higher': Manchester school for BME kids aims combat trend of 'settling for mediocrity'

'Break free and aim higher': Manchester school for BME kids aims combat trend of 'settling for mediocrity'

| By Kayley Dickinson

A group of Manchester teachers and professionals are raising money to launch a school for black minority ethnic and under-privileged children.

The project aims to provide quality tuition, learning support and mentorship in areas of the country where it is most needed.

The teaching centre, which is to be set up in the north of the city, will be the first of its kind and will cater for children aged between eight and 18.

The group has already identified the location and has secured the use of these facilities as well as acquiring an alliance of expert professionals covering all subjects.

Mohammed Haroon, 35, is the school’s centre manager and he explained to MM how the team decided on the school’s location based on the student body they were appealing to.

He said: “Our main target demographic is students who are under-performing at school and particular emphasis on students who are not focusing on studies and are as such being dragged into a range of unsavoury habits.

“So we needed a venue which was amongst the community and within walking distance of many schools, while at the same time providing a safe and well-resourced venue which was not going to cause traffic and parking issues.”

The location of the centre is surrounded by 11 state schools where current A-C attainment at GCSE level is less than 40%.

“While many students achieve 5 A-C grades at GCSE level, the number of students who are doing this in subjects such as English, Maths and Science is actually very low in our area,” Mr Haroon said.  

“This limits what courses these students can enter at higher education and so the knock-on effect is that very few of our local students are present within our own universities.

“Career prospects and aspirations have shifted accordingly and there seems to be a trend to ‘settle for mediocrity’.

“We hope to help students break free from these shackles and aim higher.”

The teachers involved believe these children have the ambition and will to succeed but require the support and encouragement to help turn this ambition into performance.

Mr Haroon, who has vast experience in education, explained how he and his team intend to combine traditional teaching methods with more personal, individual teacher-student bonds.

 He said: “The school will have a direct influence on the academic growth of the students and will enable them to get better results.

“In addition, we believe that a personal mentoring relationship will provide added confidence and better equip our students to become successful adults in the near future.”

The Manchester-based teacher believes it is vital that the new school breaks away from standard classroom and teaching environments if it is to succeed.

“I have worked in education for many years and every day I come across students who have a huge amount of ability and intelligence but lack the confidence to excel within a bust classroom environment,” he said.

“The new model by which schools are run means that class sizes are getting bigger and bigger and teachers are being burdened with a huge amount of admin tasks.

“This is eating into valuable teaching time and this is having a hugely detrimental effect on the quality of learning taking place in our classrooms.”

£40,000 is the target required to help bring the premises up to regulatory standards as well as provide the school with modern and useful resources.

Fundraising events are set to be organised for this summer in Manchester, which will include a fair and a music festival along with various competitions and prize draws.

All profits made from the school will be re-invested into creating further centres around the north-west and then eventually further afield.

You can show your support by visiting the project’s Crowdfunding page and pledging a donation.

Image courtesy of Norton Gusky, with thanks.