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Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality highlights alarming rise of racism in schools

PUBLISHED: 07:24 22 September 2017 | UPDATED: 07:24 22 September 2017

Chairman of ISCRE Chris Cumberbatch, left.

Chairman of ISCRE Chris Cumberbatch, left.

The chairman of a Suffolk racial equality charity says they are receiving more reports from parents about prejudice in schools than ever before.

Chris Cumberbatch, chairman of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE), said he had been contacted by parents across the county saying their children had been subject to forms of racial abuse.

He said community cohesion was extremely important in the current climate but that it had taken a hit as cuts to community services have been made.

“It is difficult as there is no mechanism that appropriately measures the scale of the issue,” he said.

“The county council’s Equalities and Minority Ethnic Attainment Team (EMEAT) used to collate information about these issues and act – but that has gone with the cuts.

“At the moment we are engaging with parents in schools in west Suffolk and Ipswich about racist language and physical violence towards students.
“The children are really struggling, one is self harming so it is really having an impact.”

Mr Cumberbatch said services looking into racial equality had been cut as they were “low hanging fruit”.

“It is parents coming to us who are worried about their kids,” he said.

“Without data you don’t know whether this is an increasing problem and whether you need to change anything because you don’t have anything to gauge it against.

“I understand the council are not getting enough money but this is a false economy because it will impact a lot of other areas which will could themselves spiral out of context.

“You need to nip these things in the bud and can’t take community cohesion for granted.

“If you watch the latest terrorist attacks those involved are all really young, the demographic is young.

“This is why community cohesion is so important.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council said: “Prejudice related incidents are recorded and responded to by schools.

“Ofsted scrutinises the way schools record and respond to these incidents and consider that information under their judgement on safeguarding, as well as welfare and behaviour.

“If incidents are serious schools must report them to the police.”

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