Racism in schools has been pushed to the fore in the past few days with people questioning how big the issue actually is.
Britain and in particular Yorkshire is seen as a multi-cultural area where people accept each other from all different walks of life.
Last year, in light of former headteacher Ray Honeyford’s death, alongside recent statistics, is Britain as understanding as is made out?
It has been revealed that racism is the biggest type of bullying at schools in Bradford accounting for 75 per cent of incidents during previous academic years.
A total of 344 bullying incidents were reported by schools in the district between September, 2010, and July, 2011, of which 260 were deemed to be racist, figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show.
Last term, from September to December, racist incidents accounted for more than half of the 113 recorded bullying incidents.
Other types of bullying reported by schools during this period include incidents relating to disability, family nationality or lifestyle, homophobia, gender and religion.
Councillor Ralph Berry, Bradford Council’s executive member for children and young people’s services, said: “There’s been a general move to address these issues clearly at the earliest possible opportunity.
“That’s resulted in a better focus on recording of incidents. I don’t know whether that means there are more. I think it’s extremely important bullying incidents are reported properly.”
Former Bradford Headteacher, Ray Honeyford sparked a national scandal in 1984 when he wrote an article warning that “Asian ghettoes” would be created within the country’s inner cities.
It criticised councils for allowing children to be “sent to the Indian sub-continent” during term time and also hit out at what he called propaganda from “multi- racial zealots” and council bureaucracies which he argued made freedom of speech difficult to maintain.
At the time he was the headmaster of Drummond Middle School which served a predominantly Asian area of Bradford.
The reaction to his article led to protests, reported death threats being made against him and the then Lord Mayor of Bradford Mohammed Ajeeb calling for him to be removed from his job. Mr Ajeeb said he had shown “an inclination to demonstrate prejudice against certain sections of the community.”
However in 2004, 20 years later, Trevor Philips, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality and a former Labour parliamentary candidate, asserted that children needed to be given a “core of Britishness.”
Multiculturalism, he argued, suggested ‘separateness’.
In words reminiscent of Mr Honeyford’s, yet more delicately put, he said: “For instance, I hate the way this country has lost Shakespeare. That sort of thing is bad for immigrants.”
Almost 30 years have passed since Honeyford first made these comments yet have times really moved on? If racism is still prevalent within schools it seems Britain has a long way to go before it really becomes a fair, multicultural state.