Posted on April 25, 2007

Schools Becoming Ethnic And Religious Ghettos

Nick Britten, Telegraph (London), April 25, 2007

Cultural diversity in inner-city schools is failing with many becoming so polarised that they are dominated by one racial or religious group, a damning report will claim.

Race Equality Sandwell in the West Midlands, claims that schools in the region are becoming “all-white” or “all-Asian” despite drawing from multi-ethnic catchment areas.

Derrick Campbell, the chief executive of RES, said he was “extremely concerned” that children will leave school unable to fit into a diverse society. “My biggest worry is that schools and parents are propagating the notion of segregation,” he said.

The report, to be published next week, covers schools across the West Midlands. It looked at admissions policies, catchment areas and wider socio-economic influences.

Mr Campbell said there were examples of neighbouring schools having an unnecessarily separate ethnic mix. It was caused by a range of factors, including parents wanting their children to be with those of a similar faith or background and schools failing to ensure a proper mix in their admissions policies.

He said: “Schools are becoming ghettos divided by race and it is having a negative effect on young people.

“The Government needs to restrict parental choice to ensure that the intake policy gives a fair chance and opportunities for schools to reflect the make up of the community.”

He said the report found that while there was a growing segregation between white and Asian children, black Afro-Caribbean pupils tended to mix well with both.

Allison Fraser, the chief executive of Sandwell council, said the council was “committed to building and strengthening good community relations”.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: “When parents apply for a school place at either level we recommend that they list their nearest community school as one of their references, therefore in many cases the community a pupil lives in will be reflected in the classroom.”