At a time of unprecedented international immigration, seven Somali and African Caribbean boys are working their way through primary and secondary education. It is inner city Bristol and, like large cities across the UK, local communities and schools are receiving many thousands of Somali refugees on their doorstep. As new priorities are swiftly established in the staff room, a new pecking order develops in the playground.In an attempt to improve relations between rival groups, seven boys are referred into a Year 6 social skills group run by the author. Five years later she meets the boys again, and at home with their mothers, grandmothers and siblings, hears stories of exclusion and disappointment, success and ambition as they progress towards their GCSE examinations.Drawn from the author’s doctoral research, this engaging and emotionally honest book offers gripping stories from young people who live at the leading edge of demographic change; a critical discourse on the underachievement of Black and Somali children; a detailed account of the use of a performance narrative methodology; and an exploration of the author’s positioning as a White researcher working with Black participants.About the Boys is vital reading for those interested in the attainment of Black and Somali children and in schools and communities coping with demographic change. It is of particular relevance to students and researchers of narrative inquiry.
Lynn Maddern is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), North Bristol NHS Trust. Lynn is also a Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, UK.