Minority Ethnic Achievement Support (MEAS) Team
School name: Minority Ethnic Achievement Support (MEAS) Team with:
Alltwen Primary School; Godre’r Graig Primary School; Ysgol Maes-Y-Coed; Cwmtawe Community School; Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School; Dwr-Y-Felin Comprehensive; Dyffryn School; Llangatwg Community School; St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School and 6TH Form; Sandfields Comprehensive; Ysgol Hendrefelin
County: Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council
Headteacher: MEAS Team Leader - Jan Hoggan
Alltwen Primary School - Owain Hyett
Godre’r Graig Primary School - Penny Argyle
Ysgol Maes-Y-Coed - Helen Glover
Cwmtawe Community School - Lee Hitchings
Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School - Steve Peers
Dwr-Y-Felin Comprehensive - Susan Handley
Dyffryn School - Martin Grimes
Llangatwg Community School - Alan Rowlands
St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic School and 6th Form - Eugene Scourfield
Sandfields Comprehensive - Mike Gibbon
Ysgol Hendrefelin - Jonathan Roberts
Number of pupils: 150
MEAS has worked in partnership annually with schools in Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council, the music service and other partners, since 2010 to celebrate the achievements of Black people in history, arts, sport, popular culture and politics.
“Black History Month allows us to participate in Britain’s and in particular Wales’ rich and diverse history, irrespective of ethnicity and allow us to appreciate and recognise the many important and positive contributions made over the years by black and ethnic minority communities,” said Jan Hoggan, Team Leader at Minority Ethnic Achievement Support (MEAS) Education Development and Inclusion Service Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council.
The Minority Ethnic Achievement Grant (MEAG) which is now in the Education Improvement Grant, enables local authorities/schools to support learners with English as an Additional Language, but also Ethnic Minority learners, who may be at risk of underachievement.
Black History Month workshops and events encourage schools to discuss and address issues relating to achievement for BME learners, throughout the year.
Since 2012, MEAS has worked in partnership with Black History Association Wales, to obtain funding from the Arts Council for BHM related workshops and events.
Research, workshops and events reflect on the contributions of Black communities in the First World War and inspirational women from education, history and culture.
Great inspirational role models such as Nelson Mandela, Paul Robeson, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, have been researched, studied and celebrated as well as more current role models such as authors Verna Wilkins and Mallory Blackman, artist Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy and Baroness Doreen Lawrence.
Arnold Matsena, dancer, model and presenter, created dance workshops for several schools and pupils interviewed local key figures from the Black Community.
Cwmtawe Secondary school choir took part in singing workshops with national performer Humie Webbe and performed in the National Launch of BHM Wales in 2014.
“Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council has over 150 black and mixed parentage pupils, throughout our 68 schools,” said Jan.
“Black History would be largely ignored due to the current demands on school curriculums, leading to issues relating to identity, racism and cultural diversity.
“But all pupils have the opportunity to engage in the Black History activities, not just BME, but it enables our BME learners to see Black role models given the same status as other role models frequently discussed and learnt about in schools.”
In 2015 activities included promotion of awareness and influence of Black history in dance through workshops at Ysgol Maes-Y-Coed, Godre’r Graig Primary School and Pontardawe Arts Centre where 78 pupils learnt different dance styles – from Hip-Hop and Breakdancing to traditional styles of African dance.
Black History – Influential Women Workshops were held with MEAS and broadcaster Sherry Dixon who worked in partnership with the Education Library Resource Service, Sandfields Comprehensive, St. Joseph’s Comprehensive, Alltwen Primary School to research and produce information on great Black women throughout history and modern day influential Black women such as Rosa Parks, Doreen Lawrence, Chinwe Roy, Whitney Houston, Dame Kelly Holmes and Maya Angelou. Classes used information to produce pieces of art on famous Black Women.
A Black History Month Celebration event was also held in Pontardawe Arts Centre, in November.
The programme was developed from workshops’ outcomes with over 120 pupils taking part.