Number of British secondary school children from ethnic minorities soars by 57% in ten years

White British pupils have become a minority in many secondary schools in England, according to a study. The research found that the number of ethnic minority pupils has sharply risen by 57 per cent in ten years. In some areas, including inner London boroughs, up to 67 per cent – just over two thirds – are from ethnic minorities.

In some individual secondary schools, the figure rises to 98 per cent of pupils, said the survey by King’s College London. The trend is seen right across England, showing that ethnic minority families are moving out of town centres to the suburbs.

Professor Chris Hamnett, a geographer who conducted the study, said the increase is not due to children who have recently arrived but pupils who were born in England. He said patterns of birth rates indicate that the proportion of ethnic minority pupils will continue to increase in future decades. Such changes have become a lasting feature of the ethnic make-up of England’s population, added the professor. He said his data reveals a ‘very substantial’ shift in the population, representing an ‘irrevocable’ change.

The study examined the changing demographics of schools from 1999 to 2009 following decades of migration to this country. The 57 per cent increase in ethnic minority pupils came as the overall secondary school population rose 4.7 per cent. There has also been a slight decline in the number of white pupils, a figure which also includes migrants from Eastern Europe.

Across the country, the proportion of ethnic minority pupils has risen in a decade from 11.5 per cent to 17 per cent.

Professor Hamnett forecasts that it is set to continue increasing to 20 per cent. He found that London has the highest proportion of ethnic minority pupils at 67 per cent.

The capital was followed by Slough with 64 per cent, Leicester at 58 per cent, Birmingham at 52 per cent and Luton with 51 per cent. Manchester and Bradford both have 43 per cent.

There are also wide differences in the ethnic breakdowns of schools in different parts of the country. In places such as Knowsley, near Liverpool, Cumbria and Durham, fewer than two per cent of secondary pupils are from ethnic minorities. In the London boroughs of Brent, Tower Hamlets and Newham, the figure is above 80 per cent.

In primary schools, the government’s annual school census this year showed that 862,735 children, more than a quarter of pupils, are from an ethnic minority. The figure is up from 22 per cent in 2007.

When Labour took power in 1997, the total was 380,954. In Newham, only eight per cent of primary pupils are from a white British background.


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