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WORKING TOWARDS SUCCESS: THE ROLE OF DEDICATED SUPPORT PROVIDED FOR BLACK MALE STUDENTS IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

S. Peart

Nottingham Trent University (UNITED KINGDOM)
This paper considers how Black male students developed their own personalised support systems and used these in conjunction with a unique college based support mechanism designed to help Black male students make positive life choices and to help them develop the skills needed to challenge societal inequalities, navigate their way through education and achieve academically. Interview data collected over a 12 month period, explored how Black men came together in a monocultural group with Black male facilitators to devise strategies to manage their educational journeys and life trajectories. Primary research was conducted in a single large city based college in the East Midlands (England) which had established a dedicated Black male student support group. Qualitative research instruments including unstructured and semi structured interviews conducted with the Black male students together with questionnaire data gathered from college based staff were used to gather data, complemented with limited numerical data on student attendance and achievement while on course. This data was used to build up a picture of Black male students’ response to the relevance of this college support system. The paper further develops the theme of learner and college generated support systems and suggests how colleges may need to revisit and reconfigure the type of support they make available to some learners in order to positively influence academic attainment and to promote helpful social outcomes. The paper concludes by suggesting further strategies that colleges could usefully consider to promote equality and access within colleges and to enhance achievement of Black male students.