Shame of racism in Islington schools revealed
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 July 2016 | UPDATED: 11:30 28 July 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
More Islington children were kicked out of school for racist abuse than anywhere else in inner London last year, a new league table of shame reveals.
The news comes after a spate of hate crime in the borough and across the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote.
Thirty pupils from primary and secondary schools were suspended for offences such as racist taunting and using racist swearwords during the 2014/2015 academic year.
Only Greenwich, in outer London, recorded more exclusions for racist abuse in a report published by the Department for Education (DfE) on Thursday. It’s a jump from last year, when 21 pupils were suspended for racist abuse.
Islington Council’s executive member for children, young people, and families, Cllr Joe Caluori, said: “Every child deserves to go to school where they feel safe.
“Racism in any shape or form is absolutely unacceptable and our teachers take such instances extremely seriously.”
The data were released just weeks after political and religious leaders staged an anti-racism rally in Highbury Fields following a five-fold increase in hate crime across the UK.
Victims included Clerkenwell councillor Raphael Andrews, who was racially abused in a supermarket. Xenophobic graffiti was also daubed onto a community shed in Newington Green.
However, suspensions for racist abuse were a small fraction of the 960 fixed-term exclusions handed out to Islington pupils last year, which was among the lowest suspension figures in London.
The numbers are also inflated as they are rounded up to the nearest 10 to protect the identities of the children involved.
The DfE says “racist abuse” covers racist harassment, derogatory racist statements, racist bullying and writing racist graffiti.
But the most common reason for suspensions was persistent disruptive behaviour, with 300 cases, while 190 pupils were suspended for physical assaulting a fellow pupil.
Children missed an average of four days for every exclusion, with a total of 2,720 days of school missed.