Wednesday, 23 May 2007

I spent lunchtime dealing with the consequences of a Channel 4 programme about racist incidents in schools...

The programme is due to be shown tomorrow evening but it identifies Leeds as having one of the highest levels of reported racist incidents in schools. This is interpreted as bad news but as I explained to the journalists who interviewed me today I believe that it shows that we take the issue seriously. We had 1450 reported incidents last year... equivalent to around 5 per school. They are mostly verbal abuse and mostly reported across our 230 primary schools.

We should celebrate the fact that we do take this seriously and while every racist incident is one too many we should refocus and redouble our efforts through the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard and the Together for Peace initiative to continue to build respect, tolerance and understanding.

Keep the faith.

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