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Last Updated: Monday, 22 January 2007, 18:36 GMT
Segregated schools 'should close'
Family in Blackburn
Are communities living and learning in "segregation"?
Schools with an overwhelmingly Muslim intake should be replaced by academies serving a mixed community, says a government adviser.

Sir Cyril Taylor, who heads the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, highlighted problems of policing young people in such "segregated" areas.

Academies shared between different faith groups should be created to help integration, says Sir Cyril.

The education department said such proposals were "wide of the mark".

Sir Cyril's comments come in advance of a report into citizenship and the teaching of "Britishness" which is set to be published later this week.

"We have a huge number of children in this country in schools which are, in effect, segregated. Hopefully, most people agree that that is not a good thing," said Sir Cyril.

'Multi-faith'

"How do you then resolve it? Obviously we have to do so by agreement. You can't enforce quotas on people or change catchment areas arbitrarily. But if you set up an academy programme it can be done on a multi-faith basis and if you have got agreement there is a good chance it will work."

This would mean, for example, closing schools which serve mostly white or children from Pakistani or Bangladeshi families - and creating a single shared academy.

Sir Cyril, in an interview with the Financial Times, pointed to the difficulty facing the police in areas where communities lived apart.

"In some part of the country where, for example, children only speak Bangla at home and do not mix with other communities at school, it has become a real strategic security problem," said Sir Cyril.

The Department for Education and Skills has rejected such a controversial proposal.

"Any suggestions of closing schools are wide of the mark. However, all schools can and should play a leading role in creating greater community cohesion."


SEE ALSO
Schools 'must act on Brother row'
21 Jan 07 |  Education
Muslim schools citizenship warning
17 Jan 05 |  Education
Muslim schools 'deeply upset'
18 Jan 05 |  Education

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