Equality Group Urges Change

A Suffolk equality group wants figures on racism in schools released every 3 months.

Annual statistics from Suffolk County Council show there were 636 incidents reported in the county last year - up nearly 10%. The previous year there were 579 reports - covering everything from verbal to physical assaults and graffiti.

There was an increase in the proportion of ethnic minority pupils in Suffolk from 8.7% to 12.8% during that time.

Racism's affecting children as young as five in some cases. With racist incidents mostly affecting boys, especially around the age of 14.

Heart's spoken to Jane Basham from Ipswich and Suffolk's Council for Racial Equality, you can hear what she'd like done to improve community cohesion on our news bulletins this afternoon.

 A Suffolk County Council spokesman said:”Suffolk County Council is committed to supporting schools in challenging all forms of racism. They are all required to record all racist incidents.

Racism, in whatever form, should never be tolerated. The Council has raised awareness of the need to monitor and report on racism.

We also work in partnership with schools to ensure they have robust procedures in place to deal effectively with racist incidents.

The latest report (2008/9) shows recorded incidents rose by 9.8%. Much of the rise should be attributed to better reporting and victims being more confident to come forward.

It is not enough to record and challenge racist behaviour – it should also be prevented wherever possible. Schools have a variety of strategies to counter racism through staff training, Personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) classes and Social and Emotion Aspects of Learning (SEAL). All schools have received revised guidance on dealing with prejudice related incidents.”

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