Segregation declining slowly in schools, claims Demos report

Ethnic minority children are “substantially” more likely than white children to attend schools where ethnic minorities are in the majority, research released by the Demos Integration Hub has found.

Analysis by the think-tank shows that 61 per cent of ethnic minority children in England began school  made up the majority of the student body, with that figure rising to 90 per cent in London.

The study also found that 94 per cent of white British pupils were studying at schools where the majority of the student body was white, sparking claims that segregation remains too high in the English education system.

Dr Richard Norrie, a research associate at Demos, said: “These data show a gradual decline over time in segregation levels in schools for all ethnic minority groups, which is to be welcomed.

“However, the rate of change is slower than the levels of population growth. While we couldn’t expect these communities to spread out on a truly equal scale, we would hope for a much greater level of integration for students at the start of their education, given how important we know it is for children to be connected to a wide range of cultures and opportunities.”

Simon Burgess, the professor of economics at Bristol University responsible for processing the data, said: “The pupil population in England’s schools is becoming more diverse, and at the same time, ethnic segregation in schools is generally declining, or is stable.

“It’s clear that segregation is certainly not zero, and some schools in some places remain highly segregated, but overall I feel that this is a situation that is improving.”

The study also found that white British and black Caribbean pupils did the least homework, while parents of Chinese, black and Indian students were more than twice as likely as white parents to pay for extra tuition.

It goes on to show that Indian pupils were less than half as likely to truant than black Caribbean and mixed ethnicity pupils, while children from Gypsy, Roma or Irish travelling backgrounds had the highest rate of permanent exclusion.

Adjusted for class, the data shows white students performing worst of all major ethnic groups in secondary school.

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