Schools Must Make Pupils Mix With Minorities
or Face Sanctions

by Education Reporter
Daily Mail, 16 July 2007


[UK s]chools with mainly white pupils could be labelled 'failing' if they don't encourage children to mix with other races and religions.

Ministers will today unveil guidance to heads on how to comply with a new legal duty to promote community relations.  Schools in rural or suburban areas will be urged to twin with multi-ethnic schools, for example by staging joint plays or sporting events.  Faith schools should link up with different denominations while those with no religious affiliation should arrange trips to churches, mosques and synagogues [As an aside, note how, in our brave new craven pro-Islamic and anti-Jewish Britain, the reference to 'mosques' in this report is placed before the reference to 'synagogues' - Bayith].  Schools should also bring together parents from different backgrounds by holding coffee mornings, curriculum evenings and parents and child courses.

Ofsted inspectors will be handed powers to check schools are meeting the new duty, which comes into force in September.  Those judged to be falling short face the prospect of their governing bodies being taken over by council hit squads or even being closed.

The law is aimed at preventing schools breeding prejudiced attitudes which could lead to extremism.  It is binding on all schools, although those with high proportions of a single faith or ethnic group will need to 'do more' than those with diverse populations.

The then Education Secretary Alan Johnson championed the requirement for schools to 'promote community cohesion' after abandoning plans for admissions quotas for faith schools.

Official figures show that, over-all, one in five schoolchildren is from an ethnic minority - a doubling of the numbers in a decade.  But 5% of primary schools - 750 - have no ethnic minority pupils while 360 have more than 50%.

However, heads are concerned at the additional burden the duty will place on schools.  They said schools cannot be expected to solve society's problems and the extra regulation will further detract from the core task of education children.  Mick Brookes, general secretary of the national Association of Head Teachers, said: "This new duty seems like another stick to beat schools with".