Education as a tool for ethnic minority community cohesion: An exploration into Liverpool’s Somali community and the use of multicultural education in a secondary school to promote integration

This study examines the nature of contemporary multicultural education in a secondary school and questions whether it may become a tool for gearing both teachers and pupils towards the creation of initiatives to assist the integration of the heavily deprived Somalian community in Liverpool. The research itself contains a multitude of transferable findings, which may be applicable in future ethnic minority or multicultural teaching studies. By triangulating data collected from both interviews with teachers and members of the Somalian community alongside a series of focus groups with pupils from one secondary school in Liverpool, a thematic analysis was conducted. This led to the identification of various perceptions of the issues facing Somalian children in the British education
system, the utility of multicultural education and importantly fills a significant dearth in knowledge regarding the links between multicultural education and the opportunities for it to become a catalyst for change in the fortunes of deprived ethnic minority communities. Isolation, lack of cultural understanding, lack of support, racism and language barriers were issues previously identified and affirmed in this study. However, ‘divide within the Somali community’ and ‘disinterest in learning about local ethnic communities’ emerged as two themes upon which it is necessary, combined with the former, unresolved issues, for both future researchers and educational policy makers to uptake interest in, if community cohesion is to occur.