The Casey Review into boosting equal opportunity and integration, which has been published today, has cast state funded schools as having a major role and urged as one of its main recommendations that changes be made to education policy to tackle segregation between schools.
Commenting on the review, Accord Coalition Chair, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, said ‘Promoting ethnic mixing at state funded schools is the easiest way that as a liberal democracy we can help boost integration and cohesion. The Casey Review highlights the importance of integration to both the economic and social health of the nation and highlights the key role schools must play. We urge the Government to reappraise its current approach to faith schools policy, which is helping entrench division for future generations. All schools can and should be broadening horizons and breaking down barriers.’
- ‘The school age population is even more segregated when compared to residential patterns of living.’ (p11)
- ‘… where faith schools are over-subscribed and where children of faith come from particular groups … admission policies do seem to play a role in reinforcing ethnic concentrations (p47)
- ‘Schools provide an important opportunity for children and young people to meet and work with those from different backgrounds to themselves. This interaction, together with access to a broad curriculum, can help build a shared understanding and respect for others’ perspectives, just as segregated schooling and narrow teaching can limit it.’ (p58)
- ‘… the high levels of ethnic and faith segregation in some of our schools, discussed earlier in this report, are a cause for great concern.’ (p113)
- the Government ‘… should now move to work with schools providers and local communities to encourage a range of school provision and projects to ensure that children from different communities learn alongside those from different backgrounds’ (p168)
- those of South Asian heritage tend to have lives that are more segregated than members of other ethnic minority groups (p9)
Last December the Accord Coalition published a ground breaking report ‘Racial discrimination by religiously selective faith schools: a worsening problem’ which revealed how faith selection by state funded schools in England has become a major and worsening source of indirect racial discrimination in society, and so is undermining Government integration and extremism strategies. Many of those being most disadvantaged were found to be Muslim families of South Asian heritage. The disadvantage is so severe that England’s state funded school system has become systemically discriminatory towards such people.