The Sunday Times is reporting that the first analysis of schools segregation across England reveals that in some parts of the country they are more divided than areas of St Louis, the American city hit by the Ferguson race riots…
The analysis was undertaken by the Demos Integration Hub and the report claims primary schools in the Blackburn with Darwen council area in Lancashire had higher levels of segregation between the white British population and all ethnic minorities than the black-white divide in St Louis neighbourhoods.
It also shows that ethnic minority children starting primary school in year 1 in Blackburn have the highest level of separation from the white British population.
The report discusses a measurement called the dissimilarity index which is calculated by taking the ethnic composition of an area and seeing how far the schools’ ethnic mix deviates from it. If it matches the ethnic mix of the area, it would be 0. The closer it is to 1, the greater the segregation in the schools.
Professor Eric Kaufmann from Birkbeck College is quoted as saying a score of 0.6 and above typically signalled social problems. In St Louis the score is 0.706 but in Blackburn is it even higher at 0.764.
Elsewhere in this country Bradford is second highest at 0.710, followed by Oldham, Birmingham, Kirklees and Calderdale, both in West Yorkshire, and Rochdale, all of which have scores higher Professor Kaufmann’s significant level of 0.6.
The report says that secondary schools are less segregated, partly because they have larger catchment areas, but Blackburn is again the most segregated, with a score of 0.683 in year 7.
Trevor Phillips, former head of the equality watchdog and chairman of the Demos integration hub, which did the analysis, is quoted:
“There is obviously a difference between school segregation and residential segregation and in this country the schools tend to be more segregated than the neighbourhoods they are in. But even if that is true, it still means children are spending more than half their waking hours largely in the company of people like themselves, and that has to be unhealthy…”
More at: Schools in wider racial split than St Louis (subscription may be required)
You can visit the Demos Integration Hub and check the integration scores for your area at: Demos Integration Hub
What do you make of these integration figures and how much significance should we give them?
Is Trevor Phillips right to be concerned about segregation and, if so, what can be done to improve it?
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