The problem we are addressing now
It is well documented that there is a lack of Black representation in all areas of civic, public and corporate life, particularly in professional and decision-making roles.
The trajectory between grammar/independent schools and Russell group universities, in addition to Oxford/Cambridge, is undeniable. Moreover, the interconnectedness between these top universities and those that go on to assume society’s top roles and decision-making positions is even more indisputable.
Over generations, the opportunity of access has been unobtainable for Black people in the same way that it has been for White and other ethnic groups, resulting in lesser outcomes for the Black community at large, as seen by the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 .
How we aim to fix the problem
ACEN believes that opportunity lies in access to elite education as part of the quest for greater racial equality over a generation.
ACEN is creating an 11+ preparation school with the specific remit to prepare 9 and 10-year-old children for the 11+, or 13+ for existing prep school students sitting the exams in Year 5. Classes will be led by a Y5 prep school class teacher and supported by 11+ tutors with proven track records of getting students into top London independent and grammar schools such as Westminster, Wilsons & CLGS.
In our first year, we aim to identify a minimum of 10 Black children from within the state primary sector, where we have established partnerships, with a particular focus on those for which the cost of private tuition would present as a barrier to entry. The children will be selected from a pool who show academic ability to thrive within independent and grammar school education, and they will be put forward for scholarship and bursary opportunities within our school networks. The cohort of children will receive 4 hours of 11+ tutoring each Saturday, over a period of 32 sessions that will consolidate and strengthen the teaching of Maths, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.
Such affirmative action initiatives have been tried and tested to increase the representation of working-class children and women in top universities, having a positive impact on the workplace and societal representation. We feel that rather than recreate the wheel, we can achieve the same success for the Black community by working on this very simple initiative.
Our intended impact
ACEN aims to build capacity within the Black community. As the initiative prepares students to gain places in schools that will start them on the trajectory to top universities and careers, we want to make sure that they widen their education to include an understanding of the world around them and begin to think about the ways in which they can enact greater equality. With more Black headteachers, lawyers, judges, bankers, doctors, council CEO's and politicians, for example, we can directly counter the structural racism which affects our community, addressing the economic, social and healthcare disparities that exist.
We are actively trying to raise funds so that we can extend this opportunity to gifted children of African/Caribbean heritage, for whom cost would otherwise be a barrier in preparing for the examinations.
We need to act now and create life-changing opportunities for Black children and greater diversity in tomorrow's leaders.
Welcome to ACEN and we thank you for supporting our work.