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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 12:14 GMT
Race classes for Oldham parents
Riots in Oldham
Many feel segregation in schools increases tension
Parents at some schools in Oldham are to be invited to anti-racism classes in an effort to prevent a repeat of last summer's riots.

Six primary and secondary schools are being targeted for the classes.

The inquiry into the disturbances in Oldham highlighted the problems of children being segregated in school and said parents had a responsibility to help their children be part of a multi-cultural society.

Courageous

Oldham Council says the classes are its response to a section in the inquiry's report which said: "All parents should be mindful of their responsibility to equip their children with the skills and attitudes necessary to live in a multi-cultural society."

Teaching unions have welcomed the proposals, saying Oldham council is courageous to recognise that segregation is harmful to the town.

The council also wants to encourage the town's faith schools to admit Muslim pupils, although any changes to admissions policies in those schools are down to the governing bodies and church authorities.

Parallel lives

The sixth forms of the town's secondary faith schools are already open to pupils of all backgrounds.

The call to open faith schools to children of all religions and none came in the official review into the causes of the Oldham riots last May carried out by David Ritchie.

The main report for the Home Office on the causes of all the riots in the north of England - the Cantle report - said different communities were living "parallel lives", segregated from each other.

It also criticised the government's policy of encouraging single-faith schools for raising possibility of deeper divisions.



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See also:

11 Dec 01 | England
Race 'segregation' caused riots
11 Dec 01 | Education
Analysis: Faith schools and quotas
10 Jul 01 | Education
Schools told to teach tolerance
19 Feb 99 | Education
Education system racist - Ouseley
11 Dec 01 | Education
Call for minority quotas in schools
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