Radical Methodologies for Correcting Educational Outcomes

Race, Identity and the Emotional Health of Students of African and African Caribbean Heritage

By Michelle Holmes - 14th February 2019


Asking for solutions not only means a problem has presented or manifested itself, but also that a root cause remains untreated. In Britain, there appears to be an open secret that to be highly educated is a privilege reserved for the elite; and the statistics would back up this notion. At our top universities, Oxford and Cambridge, Black or Black British Caribbean students constituted 0.2% of the student population in 2007-08. Seven times fewer Black or Black British Caribbean’s than on average at other universities. At the Russell Group universities, comprising 20 major UK research-intensive universities, where graduates are expected to shape the future of British industry and public life; African Caribbean or Black British students are disproportionately underrepresented at most of these institutions. The exceptions were King’s College and the University of Birmingham (Proportion of Students from Ethnic Minorities studying at Russell Group Universities (2007-08), but if we concur that universities are the lifeblood of our future economy, nurturing the talent required to develop this country deep into the 21stcentury, the evidence for whom higher education is and isn’t working for is stark.

This paper seeks to empirically determine whom education is really meant for and what must be done to unpick the deeply embedded racist structures of the institution. It will argue how racism in the curriculum and teaching profession create structural inequalities. It will address the psychological impact that race and identity have on the mental and emotional health of students and teachers of African and African Caribbean heritage while proposing ways in which we can effectively address this.

Michelle Holmes

Michelle is a London based writer, teacher and integrative healing arts therapist. She works in education as a pastoral care lead, specialising in health and wellbeing and child psychology. Michelle also works in the area of self care and ritual, the therapeutic arts, Black psychology and spirituality.

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