National Association of Supplementary Schools Archive Collection

August 30, 2021

The National Association of Supplementary Schools (NASS) was set up in October 1987 to unite and guide the work of Black Supplementary Schools nationally. NASS grew out of the Black Education Movement and the Black Parents Movement, which had both been active since the late 1960s to secure improvements in the education of black children. The archive collection at the George Padmore Institute (GPI) consists of records accumulated by John La Rose and other NASS members. It includes letters, minutes, reports, flyers, brochures, notes and newspaper articles.

The Association was based on the principle of self-reliance, and its motto was 'We are our own educators'. NASS was an influential organisation in a number of key ways. It provided support to community groups wishing to establish new supplementary schools and campaigned to introduce change in mainstream school curricula and practices. It promoted partnerships between parents, mainstream schools and supplementary schools and built a resource unit to assist in the dissemination of relevant information to parents, teachers and young people.

Funding from the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) enabled affiliated NASS members to develop courses on black history, culture and identity alongside national curriculum subjects. This extended provision enabled the development of black community and youth services, which were instrumental in helping young black people build skills and self-confidence.

The abolition of the ILEA in 1989 by Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher led to the loss of funding for NASS projects and by the 1990s the formal role of NASS had weakened.

For more detailed information about this collection and others including the Black Education Movement and the Black Parents Movement visit the archive page here.

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©Errol Lloyd. Original artwork by Errol Lloyd has been licensed to use as part of the GPI Reaching New Generations project funded by Arts Council England.