LONDON: Schools in England ban as many as 20 children a day over racially abusing classmates, an analysis released here today has found. The analysis of new data by the UK’s New Schools Network
(NSN), a charity which advises groups opening new schools, found that in total there were 4,000 cases of racist abuse in England’s schools which were serious enough to warrant a fixed or "permanent exclusion" in the 2014-15 academic year.
Since 2008-9, there have been more than 27,000 exclusions for racist abuse. A tenth of the exclusions occurred in primary schools and the remainder in secondary schools. "The analysis comes as New Schools Network has successfully argued for a new category of 'social need' to be part of the free school application criteria. This means that free school proposals will now be considered for approval if there is a proven ‘social need’ for the new school.
"One of the benefits of this new category is that proposals can now be brought forward with the explicit intention of creating more integrated schools in areas where existing schools are often divided on racial lines," NSN said in a statement.
Free schools in England are independent non-profit-making academies which are funded by the state but not controlled by a local authority. "The addition of a 'social need' category in the criteria opens the door further for schools, charities and other community organisations to come forward with ideas to create schools designed to build community cohesion," NSN's Sarah Pearson explained. "We are in discussion with a number of groups who have particular interest in community integration, and we anticipate that more will now follow in their footsteps," she said.
Racist abuse in schools is defined as derogatory racist statements, racist bullying, graffiti, taunting and harassment or swearing that can be attributed to racist characteristics.
Many of the incidents in schools were recorded in northern, midlands and coastal towns of England with Richmond Upon Thames in south-west London leading the table. Islington in north London was another region flagged up in NSN's top 10 most problematic areas in terms of such cases.