Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail (London), June 12, 2014
Amid all the furore about Islamist infiltration of schools in Birmingham, another story involving the education watchdog Ofsted has received rather less attention.
Inspectors have criticised a rural school in Devon for being insufficiently ‘diverse’. Although they concede that Payhembury Primary is a ‘happy place’, it has been denied an ‘outstanding’ rating because all 68 pupils are of ‘white British heritage’.
Well, they would be. Small villages in Devon tend not to be melting pots of multiculturalism. In fact, outside the big cities, most people in Britain are of ‘white British heritage’ even though the mass immigration of the past 15 years is changing that demographic rapidly.
Parents have been told that they must pay £35 to send their children on a ‘sleep-over’ at a school in Isleworth, West London, where three-quarters of pupils are from ethnic minority backgrounds.
Headteacher Penny Hammett wrote: ‘The purpose of this trip is to build up a relationship with a school in a very different community to ours. This will enable our children to gain a better understanding of multicultural Britain, which was identified in our last Ofsted as being an area for development.
‘Through our topics, visitors and discussions we have been developing multicultural awareness in both Britain and throughout the world, but this visit will help us to experience in real life a school where there is a wide mix of children with different ethnic backgrounds and almost 50 per cent of the children do not have English as their first language.’
The Rev Cate Edmonds, chairman of the governors at Payhembury, said: ‘We are fairly mono-cultural as an area in Devon and we don’t want children growing up thinking the whole world is full of trees and cows.’
But one mother objected: ‘I’m astounded by this idea. Just because the children go to a small school in the country does not mean they aren’t aware of people with different-coloured skin to them. It’s very patronising–and for the school they are visiting, too.’
Let me make it absolutely clear before the usual excitable suspects start bouncing up and down screaming ‘racism’ that it’s commendable for kids to learn about different cultures.
Exchange visits for schoolchildren have been going on since the Sixties, initially introduced to help them develop their foreign language skills.
I’m fortunate to live in a part of North London where friends and neighbours from all kinds of ethnic and religious backgrounds rub along well together.
Even 25 years ago, my children’s school photo looked as if it had been plucked straight from the pages of a United Colors of Benetton catalogue. But I despise the officially sanctioned cult of separate development masquerading as multiculturalism.
Just as it is appalling that Muslim children in the Midlands are being taught that all white women are prostitutes and Western values are dangerous, so it is only right and proper that pupils growing up in the Devon countryside are made aware of the wider world outside their immediate vicinity.
No, what bothers me about all this is the language being used and the element of compulsion–as well as the frankly sinister revelation that a school can be marked down by Ofsted not because of the standard of education it provides but because there are too few black and brown faces in the playground.
Why should a school be penalised because its pupils are from a ‘white British heritage’ background?
It all smacks of Labour’s deliberate policy of opening the immigration floodgates to ‘rub the Right’s noses in diversity’. And although the trip is voluntary, you know perfectly well that any parent who protests and refuses to cough up £35 will be categorised as a knuckle-scraping Neanderthal.
In some schools in London, the roll call is similarly mono-cultural, but 100 per cent Muslim rather than exclusively C of E. Are devout Islamic parents in Tower Hamlets going to be told they must fork out £35 for their children to be sent on a sleep-over in Devon so they can meet people of a ‘white British heritage’ and learn all about the Anglican faith?
What do you think?
If country folk wish to visit the inner city, they are free to do so–and vice versa. But the State is obsessed with ‘celebrating diversity’, our new officially-enforced religion.
We are quite capable of celebrating anything we like, thanks very much, without Government intervention.
Millions of pounds are frittered away each year nagging, cajoling and compelling us to embrace different cultures. Great effort goes into persuading people from an immigrant background to make more use of the British countryside.
For instance, a few years ago the Environment Agency announced that fishing was horribly white, male and middle-aged. It decided to splash out £100,000 to attract more women and ethnic minorities to the riverbank.
To demonstrate the Government’s commitment, a pilot scheme was launched in Swansea, which involved taking Muslim women and children to a lake and teaching them to fish for trout.
It was headed by Nica Pritchard, the international president of the Ladies’ Fly Fishing Association, who said: ‘A couple of hours out in the countryside and you come back a new woman. If you could just see their faces when we’re teaching them, you’d know we’re really on to something.’
Talk about patronising. It made them sound like special needs children. But what struck me about the accompanying picture of these poor women was that they were forced to wear goggles over their traditional Islamic headscarves on the insistence of elf’n’safety officials.
You couldn’t make it up.
Let’s hope the children of Devon have a whale of a time in Isleworth. They should make the most of it before possession of a ‘white British heritage’ is made a criminal offence.