Twelve pupils a week suspended from city schools for racism
The number of schoolchildren facing “fixed period” exclusions for racial abuse, bullying or derogatory comments shot up by 40 percent last year, according to government statistics.
In 2016/17, 615 pupils in London were temporarily excluded for racism, compared with 440 the 12 months before.
There has been a 28 percent increase in suspensions for racism since 2008/9 — the earliest data set available.
The “fixed period” exclusions can be for “racist bullying, graffiti, taunting and harassment, and swearing that can be attributed to racist characteristics”, the Department for Education said.
Ged Grebby, of charity Show Racism the Red Card, said the figures were “yet another indication” of rising racism in society and more needed to be done to help children excluded for such behaviour.
“Once a pupil is excluded from school it is much more difficult to influence their behaviour and Show Racism the Red Card are worried that this can then lead to that young person being labelled ‘racist’ for life,” he added.
“We call on the UK Government to look into increasing support for schools and to also look to put anti-racism on the national curriculum.”
Overall, 2017 saw the equivalent of 127 exclusions a day for offences such as assault, sexual misconduct and disruptive behavior, a rise of 10.5 percent on the previous 12 months to 46,385.
A recent report by MPs said the current system meant too many pupils are being “abandoned” as they are pushed out of mainstream classes in England.
Last month, Robert Halfon MP, who chairs the education committee, said exclusions were a “Wild West” with “too many pupils in an alternative provision who shouldn’t be there” and many “not receiving the right support”.
A DfE spokesman said: “Racism has absolutely no place in our schools … We have made sure headteachers have the power to take swift action to tackle this sort of behavior, including through exclusions where appropriate.”