Twenty children are excluded from school each day after being deemed to have racially abused classmates, a report has found.
The figures from the New Schools Network show one in 10 exclusions involved children aged 11 or younger, while the total number of incidents rose by a fifth from 2009 to 2015.
The Times Educational Supplement reports that last year alone, around 4,000 children were excluded either temporarily or even permanently, with a total of more than 27,000 exclusions since 2009.
The term “racist abuse” can apply to a variety of incidents including graffiti, bullying, harassment or swearing that school authorities deem to have a racial motivation.
The London Borough of Richmond-Upon-Thames had the highest rate of exclusions, with socialist-dominated Islington in fourth place. There was also a high number of incidents in Northern England, the Midlands, and in coastal towns.
The debate over racism in schools has been ongoing for several years in Britain. In January last year, the Manifesto Club published a report claiming that children as young as three were being reported for racist incidents and sent for counselling.
The group criticised schools for recording childish spats as racist incidents, blaming inspection group Ofsted for encouraging this.
Adrian Hart, who conducted the study, wrote in the book That’s Racist!: “The Ofsted School Inspection handbook, published in September 2012, makes it clear that inspectors will request logs of racist incidents and incidents of bullying, including homophobic bullying.
“Schools seeking to gain or maintain ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings have quickly learnt that demonstrating compliance with equalities duties means inspections can be faced with confidence.
“And, given Ofsted’s predilection for evaluating the behaviour and especially the ‘safeguarding’ of pupils, one straightforward and demonstrable action schools will adopt is the keeping of prejudice-related bullying and incidents records.”