Revealed: Racism in Lincolnshire’s schools

Lincolnshire County Council has released statistics showing the level of reported racism in Lincolnshire schools.

There were 240 racial incidents in Lincolnshire’s schools in 2008 and 2009 – but only one resulted in permanent exclusion.

The overwhelming majority of cases – 173 – took place in secondary schools. The other 67 were in primary schools.

The information was released by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) to Mark Walker on a freedom of information website.

Walker’s initial inquiry asks of the effectiveness of equal opportunity policies in Lincolnshire’s schools. However, LCC has no analysis on whether these policies are working in its schools.

A statement in LCC’s response to Walker said: “We can tell you that, over the past year, OFSTED have been requiring schools to produce their racist incident records and their policies. This might be the reason for any increase in incident reporting, as well as greater awareness and incidents due to the migration of more foreign nationals to Lincolnshire.”

Schools are asked to report all racist incidents regardless of how serious they may be. Research in 2008 by LCC revealed that many racist incidents were not being reported to them, but being dealt with internally by schools.

Peter Duxbury, Director of Children’s Services at LCC, says: “Lincolnshire recognises that low reporting does not necessary collate with low numbers of racist incidents occurring. Better recording processes are currently being explored.”

When asked if he thinks primary children are too young to understand the significance of racism, Duxbury said: “Racism comes out of intent to harm [or] hurt therefore young children who are aware will use ‘difference’ as a tool for this. The way it is dealt with is the key, i.e. in proportion to the child’s knowledge. They often do not know the magnitude, but there is a strong case for them knowing this at an early stage.”

LCC says it offers training to schools on how to identify and deal with racism, and that it also offers support to victims and perpetrators of racist incidents.

Nationally, 40,000 racial incidents are reported in schools each year.

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