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Schools must root out institutional racism before they can succeed in carrying out a new legal duty to promote community cohesion, a senior adviser to the Government warned today. Sir Keith Ajegbo, the author of a report on an inquiry into how to promote British values in schools, spoke out about the "shocking statistic" that black Afro-Caribbean boys were three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than white youngsters.

This still happens in schools and it might be to do with institutional racism. This needs to be looked at. I'm not in any way suggesting that schools are overtly racist but it could be built into the sub-conscious of the school and it is important for schools to look at this. His latest comments follow a report by civil servants at the then Department for Education and Skills a year ago which fought shy of using the term "institutional racism" to describe the high exclusion rate amongst Afro-Caribbean pupils.

In the end, they left the decision up to ministers who decided the term "systematic racial discrimination" should be used because it was considered less incendiary. The latest ethnic breakdown of school exclusions, published by the Government, shows that four out of every 10, Afro-Caribbean pupils are permanently excluded from school compared with just 1.

The figures, from , also show that 1, black pupils are permanently excluded a year and 30, are given fixed term suspensions. Sir Keith, a former head of Deptford Green school in Lewisham, south London — which was the first in the country to include citizenship as a specialism, is now engaged on a whistle-stop tour of the country aimed at preparing schools for new legislation compelling them to promote social cohesion.

He is visiting nine regions ,supported by the Institute for Community Cohesion. As from next September, Ofsted — the education standards watchdog — has been given the task of reporting on how effectively they are carrying out this duty in every school inspection. Sir Keith's tour follows the publication of an inquiry he headed into how to promote British values and prepare children for a diverse society.

Its findings were pivotal in persuading the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to launch a campaign to promote the teaching of "Britishness" in schools. In all-white schools, he said there were heads that were ready and willing to prepare their pupils for a diverse world.

But others, he said, "were worried about getting it started" because they felt "it will be difficult for us with parents and children". Sir Keith believes history projects can be used to develop a sense of community cohesion.

For instance, in largely white Northamptonshire, a black history project was mounted which discovered the first black person to live in the county had been there in Nationally, through a new strand of the history curriculum looking at modern British history, schools will be urged to look at issues including the history of immigration, the British Empire and Commonwealth and the European Union and its impact on migration to the UK.

A quick trawl through the history of immigration in the UK shows Elizabeth I was contemplating enforced black repatriation from the UK in It isn't suddenly going to change overnight.

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Citizenship Education and the Ajegbo Report: Re-Imagining a Cosmopolitan Nation.

A review of how schools teach citizenship found there was not enough emphasis on UK identity and history. The report, by Sir Keith Ajegbo, says pupils should study free speech, the rule of law, mutual tolerance and respect for equal rights. Education Secretary Alan Johnson has said schools should "play a leading role in creating community cohesion". He commissioned the review in the wake of the London bombings.


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Include Synonyms Include Dead terms. Peer reviewed Direct link. Following the London bombings, there is widespread public debate about diversity, integration, and multiculturalism in Britain, including the role of education in promoting national identity and citizenship. In response to official concerns about terrorism, a review panel was invited to consider how ethnic, religious and cultural diversity might be addressed in the school curriculum for England, specifically through the teaching of modern British social and cultural history and citizenship. The resultant Ajegbo report proposes a new strand on "identity and diversity: living together in the UK", be added to the citizenship education framework.



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