Monday, June 29, 1998 Published at 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Britain is racist, say pupils
The survey involved more than 4,000 pupils aged 11 to 16
Many secondary school children think the UK is a racist society, according to a union survey.
Their perception of racism deepens as they get older, and by the time they leave school more than four in 10 believe Britain is a racist country - whatever their own ethnic background.
The survey was commissioned by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which has published a guide for teachers on how to combat racial inequality in schools.
It involved 4,245 pupils aged 11 to 16. Fourteen per cent strongly agreed with the statement that Britain is racist, while 23% tended to agree. At age 11, 31% believe Britain is racist, while at 16, 41% think so.
The survey comes as concern is being expressed about the gap between the achievements of white children and some ethnic minorities, with Afro-Caribbeans eight times more likely to be excluded from school.
The General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, Peter Smith, said: "This month we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first arrival of West Indian immigrants from the Caribbean.
"They came with high hopes for themselves and their children, but sadly there is evidence that many children from ethnic minorities do less well than they could at school.
"The resulting disadvantage can live with them for the rest of their lives."