Author: Sarah Marsh
A record number of children are being excluded for racist bullying, a Guardian analysis has found, prompting calls for an urgent government intervention to tackle bigotry and prejudice in schools across Britain.
Last year, 4,590 cases of racial abuse among school students were deemed serious enough to warrant fixed or permanent exclusion, up from 4,085 in the previous year.
The increase of more than 500 is the highest leap in a decade, after remaining relatively stable since 2008-9, when the figure was 3,950. The number is rising at a faster rate than student population growth. The findings were echoed by data separately obtained by the Guardian in a snapshot of 39 local authorities which shows a similar rise in racist incidents, surging from 2,694 to 3,651 in three years.
The data comes days after a disturbing video of a Syrian refugee being attacked in the grounds of a UK school went viral, prompting widespread condemnation. In the video, a 15-year-old Syrian boy is taunted and pushed to the ground, as other students look on. A teenage boy is to be charged with assault after the video emerged.
Teachers, charities and MPs expressed concern about the “deeply troubling” picture that they said the data showed in schools, and called for the Department for Education and Ofsted to intervene.