More work to do on racism in schools

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SCHOOLS issued more than 20 fixed-term exclusions last year after incidents of racism.

And it is feared the figures represent just the tip of the iceberg as many incidents go unreported or are dealt with in different ways.

The majority of the incidents happened in the area’s secondary schools, but one involved a primary school pupil.

There are no details of the individual incidents, but many are believed to have been directed at Eastern European youngsters.

Jill Chandler-Nair, Lincolnshire County Council’s inclusion attendance team manager, said Lincolnshire has a relatively low level of racism, but admits there is work still to do and it is probably a problem that will never totally go away.

She says racism in schools is a reflection of problems in the wider community and says youngsters learn much of their attitude to others from their parents.

She said: “Some of these incidents could be comments relating to migrant workers taking local jobs or just along the lines of ‘you don’t belong here’.

“We need to look at changing those attitudes and that is likely to take some time.

“If you look at the 1950s, when there was a huge influx of black Caribbeans, we are still seeing some issues. I don’t think it ever goes away but you have to go through a stage of readjustment.

“We don’t want the Eastern European migrants to lose their culture and identity to blend in – we need to change people’s views.”

And that work needs to extend beyond the classroom, according to Mrs Chandler-Nair.

She claims anecdotal evidence suggests many incidents of racism are still not reported as parents are reluctant to come foward to say their child is a victim of racist bullying.

She said: “We can’t rest on our laurels.

“There is already a lot of work being done in schools with programmes such as Show Racism the Red Card and multicultural events in primary schools, but we need to reach the parents and give them the confidence to report racism if it’s happening to them or their children.

“On the whole I think Eastern European children have been welcomed in our schools. They are well-liked and integrated. But there is still a small percentage that aren’t accepted.”

FIXED term exclusions by school:

• Spalding Grammar (5)

• Robert Manning College (5)

• George Farmer Technology College (2)

• Gleed Girls’ Technology College (2)

• Peele Community College (2)

• Bourne Academy (2)

• Kirton Middlecott (1)

• The Deepings School (1)

• St Guthlac School (1)

• Whaplode Primary School (1)

The figures may not present an accurate picture of racism at individual schools as each has its own way of dealing with incidents, including some who operate zero-tolerance.