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UK schools ‘racially divided’, research shows

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Written By: Javier Espinoza  6/7/15

Six in ten ethnic minority in England pupils begin Year 1 where ethnic minorities already form most of the student body.

Six in ten ethnic minority in England pupils begin Year 1 where ethnic minorities already form most of the student body, a new report on racial segregation says.

In London, the figure rises to nine in 10, the Demos analysis shows. However, they represent only 72 per cent of the student body.

This compares to 49 per cent of White British students in London attending White British-majority schools, despite representing only 28 per cent of students.

The data, processed by Professor Simon Burgess of the University of Bristol and analysed by Demos, shows that children from Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black Caribbean communities are particularly likely to attend schools with “a disproportionate level of other students” sharing the same ethnic background.

Ethnic minorities now represent 26 per cent of all school students in England, the figures show. Across the country, around 94 per cent of White British students are in White British-majority schools.

The findings follow research that showed that schools with a large migrant intake get better GCSE results.

The new data also showed the levels of segregation in English schools has remained stable or only somewhat declined as the nation’s diversity has increased substantially.

Demos said: “This means that new population growth is not being spread equally throughout the country.”

The figures show a number of English local authorities have particularly segregated primary schools, with ethnic minority children in Blackburn, Bradford, Birmingham, Oldham, Kirklees, Calderdale and Rochdale having the highest levels of separation from the White British population.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Demos integration hub, which did the analysis, told the Sunday Times: “It still means children are spending more than half their waking hours largely in the company of people like themselves, and that has to be unhealthy.

Dr Richard Norrie, research associate at Demos, said: “These data show a gradual decline over time in segregation levels in schools for all ethnic minority groups, which is to be welcomed. However, the rate of change is slower than the levels of population growth.

“While we couldn’t expect these communities to spread out on a truly equal scale, we would hope for a much greater level of integration for students at the start of their education, given how important we know it is for children to be connected to a wide range of cultures and opportunities.”

Simon Burgess, professor of Economics at Bristol University, said: “The pupil population in England’s schools is becoming more diverse. And at the same time, ethnic segregation in schools is generally declining, or is stable.

“It’s clear that segregation is certainly not zero, and some schools in some places remain highly segregated, but overall I feel that this is a situation that is improving.”

Source: The Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11720140/UK-schools-racially-divided-research-shows.html

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