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article imageEbony And Ivory Learn Together In Perfect Harmony, Just At Different Schools

By Michelle Duffy     May 8, 2007 in Politics
It has been announced today that schools in the UK whose pupils are predominately white will be 'twinned' with ethnic schools to improve better racial relations
The UK government try yet again to put a stop to bad vibes between communities, particularly in the inner cities. In London, there are areas where schools, only a few streets away from each other are educating different colours. One school is white and the other down the road is black/ethnic. Councils have cottoned onto the fact that colours want to be in separate places to each other, to grow, to shop and to learn, yet this only allows contempt to grow between the colours meaning children are brought up to dislike another colour without actually getting to know them. The educational system have had another brainwave and let's hope this time it will work as coloured gangs grow by the day, bitter against the government.
We have all heard of schools being twinned with unpronouncable names in Germany and the like, apparently bringing cultures closer together across the miles, so why not twin ethnic schools with white ones? We wonder if this will work - bringing societies together in this way will give pupils a better understand as to who lives in the next street.
The promotion will be called "community cohesion" and all schools where there is a definite divide of colour will have to play when the new reform comes into practise in five months time.
However, not all schools will be looking forward to taking in a breath of ethnic fresh air. Many Head Teachers are cringing at the new gizmo to be set up by the Education Department. If the schools were, perhaps, left alone to get on with things, it might just work, but no, educational watchdog for the UK, Ofsted will be hot on the heels of any school who appears to be letting the side down.
Head teachers' leader, Mick Brookes is one person who will not be opening his arms out to such a multi cultural 'twinning.' Yet the minister for Schools, Jim Knight can't wait for the new policy to get underway as he will be launching the project in a speech at the Head Teachers conference this week.
It will be encouraged for all schools not visibly embracing a multi cultural status to take part in the new scheme where pupils can reach out to the school next door and develop a newer, fresher understanding of how and why other cultures are adopted and what they represent. The Department believe that there is a strong under current of ignorance and lack of knowledge of each other that is the basis of racial hate.
Mr Knight said,
"As an example, I'm quite keen on faith-based schools twinning with those of other faiths - to talk to other schools about their faith - so we can extend that understanding."
He stressed that the project will be broken up into three sections.
"First of all, as part of teaching in the classroom, as part of delivering things in the curriculum, like citizenship, like religious education. Secondly, in terms of the sort of ethos there is in the school to ensure that, obviously there is no racism, but more broadly that there is a tolerant attitude of mutual respect towards other people within the school and beyond the school. And then thirdly the external relations of the school in the wider community and things like twinning between schools of different faiths, those sort of partnerships are things that we're very keen to encourage."
However, Mick Brookes, of the Head Teachers had other ideas. He claimed that it was going to be another reason to breathe down the necks of schools who were already building good relations with other schools in the community. He felt that it was going to be another way to judge schools and put them under pressure.
"It seems like another stick to come and beat schools with. If we're going to do that, what are we going to throw out?"
John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, was also against the idea, saying that it was adding stress onto Head Teachers who were already paving the way for ethnic harmony in their areas.
More about Twinning plan, Stop, Race divide
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