About us

ACEN is a rapidly growing network of Black Parents, Students, Professionals and Teachers.
Our principal aim is to effect racial equality for Black children in education and organise to impact on Black communal equity, now and over a generation.
Founded in 2019 by parents of African Caribbean children, through our own experiences and those of other Black children and parents in similar environments, we recognised that our children face a unique set of challenges, as well as opportunities, and we founded ACEN as a way to address both.
Our original aim was to share resources, opportunities, teaching, and anything enabling children of African Caribbean heritage to access and move successfully through independent and grammar school systems, and carry the collective benefits of their education and network into their careers.
However, these aims were interrupted by the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, and as an organisation, we started to look at the ways in which our network could impact on institutional and structural inequality within the Black community more widely. Especially, considering the lack of Black people in senior positions across ALL industries and the interconnectedness between independent and grammar schools, Russell Group universities and Oxbridge, and decision-making positions thereafter.
Our mission moved on from our own children, to engaging with independent and grammar schooling as a way to impact on inequity at an earlier, clearly identifiable stage, for as many Black children as possible.
We do this by:
– Anti-racism training, workshops, events, and services such as recruitment and admissions assistance for schools
– Increasing Black visibility in schools with specialist recruitment & HR services as well as a Black governor register.
– An active network of Black parents
– An active network of Black students
– An active network of Black teachers from the independent and grammar sectors
– An active network of educators and D&I/Safeguarding leads discussing and sharing best practice
– Engagement with other Black-led community organisations
– Careers (adult and student) mentorship, work experience and advice among the network
– Careers and graduate outreach services for private and public sector organisations
– Helping to increase the number of Black children in the independent and grammar sectors via a Preparation School for Black children which prepares them to sit the 11+ exam. 80% of our cohort have been signposted to us from local comprehensive schools and are fully funded.