Posted on May 5, 2008

Schools Made Up of Only Ethnic Minorities

Julie Henry, London Telegraph, May 4, 2008

More than 30 state schools in England are made up solely of ethnic minority pupils with no white children on the roll, according to government figures.

The finding follows a warning from Britain’s race watchdog that schools are becoming increasingly segregated along racial lines.

This year’s school census, carried out in January, found that 27 primaries and four secondaries were entirely non-white.

The schools, which were not identified, are likely to include England’s nine state Muslim schools and two state Sikh schools.

The remaining 20, all primaries, are likely to be in areas with large ethnic minorities.

Trevor Phillips, the chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who has claimed that Britain is “sleepwalking into segregation”, said last year that there was a disturbing trend for schools to become either mainly white or mainly black.

He pinned the blame on the phenomenon of “white flight” from racially mixed areas, saying: “To put it crudely, white parents, particularly, are unhappy about putting children in schools where they think their children are going to be in a minority.”

The new figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show that entirely non-white schools can be found in 10 education authority areas: Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale in West Yorkshire; Lancashire, Oldham and Blackburn; the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Hillingdon; and Birmingham.

Groups which are counted as “white” include white British, Irish, traveller, gipsy/Roma or “any other white”.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said that some white pupils could have been placed into some of the other categories.

A spokeswoman added: “Every school is responsible for ensuring that children are educated about the diverse makeup of British society.”

Earlier research carried out at Bristol University found that schools were more segregated than the communities around them.

In one London borough 17 schools had more than 90 per cent Bangladeshi pupils, while nine others had fewer than 10 per cent.

Commenting on the earlier research, Mr Phillips said: “We think this is a serious problem because it does not help to prepare the children in those schools for the real world, to interact with people who are not like themselves.”

The latest findings come days after official data showed that almost 500,000 children in primary schools and a further 350,000 in secondary schools have English as a second language.

They account for one in seven of Britain’s total school population.

The National Association of Head Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers have raised concerns about the situation, with the latter calling for extra funds to “meet the extra educational demands on schools brought about by the recent influx of children of refugee and EU migrant families”.

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