Learning about each other, with each other works best if children from different backgrounds are in the same class. In common with schools and local authorities, the Education Council therefore wishes to see a reversal of the trend towards ‘white' schools and ‘black' schools. But separate waiting lists is not the way to do it.
18 May 2005
Schools are not allowed to maintain separate waiting lists for white children and ethnic children. It is illegal to make a distinction on the basis of a person's origin. However, dispersal measures based on other factors are possible. Schools can maintain separate waiting lists based on language or learning delays, for instance. International and national laws allow this.
Make integration policy compulsory
The government should stimulate integration by placing a duty on local authorities and schools to make an integration plan together. Because each situation is different, the local parties should decide together whether the benefits of a dispersal policy outweigh the drawbacks. The drawbacks might include reduced freedom of choice for parents, pupils and school governing bodies, and side effects such as a ‘white exodus'. The decision to go ahead with dispersal therefore needs to be taken at the local level.
Don't just act locally, but taken an integrated approach
An integrated approach could avoid merely shifting the problem to other schools. The Education Council therefore recommends a combination of three measures to counter segregation:
1. support parent initiatives that contribute to a mixed school population, e.g. white parents who enrol their children at a predominantly black local school;
2. school accommodation policies: improving integration should be a legal criterion when allocating accommodation facilities to schools;
3. where viable, try to distribute pupils with language or learning delays across various schools.