The Secondary School Slump

Presentation to Year 1 - Year 9 parents

Avoiding The Secondary School Slump

Avoiding the Secondary School Slump

Intended Audiences:

African & Caribbean Primary School Parents & Lower-School Secondary School Parents (SS1)

All Primary School Parents & Lower-School Secondary School Parents (SS2)

The presentation to African & Caribbean parents is given in the cultural context of supporting students of African, Caribbean and Black British descent, as well as highlighting (and providing strategies for) some of the effects of institutionalised racism.


Many people would argue that it is completely normal for all teenagers to experience a significant dip in their child’s attainment as they progress to the GCSE years.  Many people would even recommend that parents stay calm and ‘weather the storm’ as it is a natural part of a teen’s development.  We wholeheartedly disagree with this sentiment!  The truth is that ‘top’ students just keep improving and their momentary ‘dips’ are imperceptible to all but the child’s parents who have the holistic picture of their child’s home, school and social lives.

Unfortunately, with respect to students of African & Caribbean descent, it has almost become the norm to expect that their attainment will drastically deteriorate over the course of their school lives, especially at secondary school.  This should be unacceptable to Black parents.  Moreover, with access to the support and guidance offered in this presentation it is completely avoidable.

Former headteacher, Neil Mayers delivers an interactive presentation based on his best-selling book Gifted At Primary, Failing By Secondary and the highly anticipated sequel Sailing Through Secondary, Considering Uni.  The presentation outlines key focus areas for secondary school parents to address with respect to the decline in attainment during secondary school.  The presentation then looks at growth areas for the development of young adults in the UK such as:

  • minimising the potential impact of institutionalised racism in school
  • the importance of Cultural Esteem
  • How to monetise your child’s interests
  • Supporting your child’s academic progress in your most feared subjects 
  • The growth mindset required of the parent to propel their child to academic success 



  • To identify the key factors responsible for the academic decline of African & Caribbean students in UK schools.
  • To provide practical strategies to the attending parents to avoid the secondary slump entirely, or to correct the issue if it has already presented itself to the family.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this presentation, it is expected that:

  • Parents will have a greater knowledge of the causes of Black student underachievement
  • Parents will be more confident in using strategies to raise their child’s Cultural Esteem
  • Parents will have identified at least one ‘vehicle’ to improve their child’s engagement in lessons. 
  • Discuss some of the ways in which The Secondary Slump has impacted on their child’s progress.
  • Parents will increase their level of enaggement in their child’s studies by at least 50%