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Racism log ordered for nation's schools

The Government's action plan in the wake of the Macpherson report was revealed this week, Nadene Ghouri reports

SCHOOLS will be required to log all racist incidents and report the "patterns and frequency" of racism to local authorities, as recommended by the official inquiry into the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.

Parents will also have a right to know when racism occurs, and what action schools take to tackle it, under Government plans to implement the key recommendations of the report by Sir William Macpherson.

Schools will not have to publish league tables of racist behaviour, however, as the Macpherson report had proposed. Publishing school-by-school lists would penalise those which are "open and honest" about racism and discourage ethnic-minority pupils from coming forward, Home Office ministers said this week.

The Government has accepted most of the key findings of the Macpherson report, and this week published an action plan in response. All but one of the educational recommendations were accepted. But in practice the plan will mean few changes in schools.

Ministers say, for example, that Macpherson's call for anti-racism to be an integral part of the curriculum will be covered by the existing plans to introduce citizenship education.

Furthermore, ministers say the national curriculum already addresses and values the diverse nature of British society.

"In history, for example, there is a firm focus on British history, part of which recognises Britain's multi-cultural society."

Trainee teachers will be given help to equip them with "the skills to handle racism", but the action plan states this should happen as part of the Green Paper consultation on the future of the profession.

In addition, the Office for Standards in Education will be expected to give anti-racism a greater priority in its revised inspection framework. A spokesman said OFSTED "clearly understood the implications of the Lawrence report" and would consult on the framework shortly. The revised framework is due to be published in the autumn.

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