University of Leicester eBulletin

Complementary Schools and Their Communities in Leicester

June 2002
No 122

Educational researchers at the Universities of Leicester and Birmingham will be investigating issues relating to identity and ethnic culture among schoolchildren in a new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

In the first study of its kind to take place in Leicester, the Project Team based at the University of Leicester's School of Education will study Complementary Schools in the city. 

Leicester researcher Dr Peter Martin is conducting the study with Mr Arvind Bhatt of Crown Hills Community College and Dr Angela Creese of the University of Birmingham.

Senior lecturer Dr Martin said: "Complementary schools, also known as supplementary schools or community schools, are voluntary schools that aim to maintain ethnic cultures, languages and literacies. Our study will look at the schools and their communities in Leicester.

"The study will be in two phases. The first phase will survey all complementary schools in Leicester in order to understand the nature and scope of provision in supporting minority linguistic and ethnic communities. In the second phase, a small number of Gujarati schools will be studied in greater depth."

Dr Martin said that the second phase of the study will look at how diverse ways of learning in complementary schools support, and are sustained by, their communities.

"Furthermore, we look at how the schools relate to other sectors of statutory education in order to inform wider social and educational debates at the local and national level. We also look at how complementary schools contribute to the political, social and economic life in the wider community, and to the changing nature of identities of young people."

Dr Martin said that the research would help to build an awareness of how complementary schools serve their communities.

"It will identify participants' beliefs in, and attitudes to, their languages, literacies and cultures, and how these contribute to processes of social inclusion and forming of identities.

"The study will facilitate a basis for stronger links within communities, between communities and with the mainstream sector. By gaining an understanding of how complementary schools can add value to the mainstream sector, we will engender local and national debates on educational and social policies and practices."

NOTE TO NEWSDESK: For more information contact Dr Peter Martin on 0116 252 3679 (available before Friday June 14) or Mr Arvind Bhatt on 0116 212 0304 or Dr Angela Creese 0121 4144842.

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Last updated: June 2002
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