“The impact of selection for at least one ‘upper’ (secondary modern) school in Buckinghamshire, where I am a governor, is a racially segregated school that does not reflect its local community.
At the 2001 census, just 19% of High Wycombe’s population was described as ‘non white’. In contrast, at school we are 80% ‘non white’, which rises to almost 100% in our Sixth Form.
Consequently, nearly 900 children, mainly of Pakistani (Mirpuri) heritage, are being educated separately from their white peers who attend other schools. This separation contributes nothing to the social cohesion of our town.
Parents don’t want it to be like this. Governors don’t want it.
How has this happened?
The basic issue is the relationship between educational achievement and social deprivation. We are situated alongside some of the most affluent wards in the South east – but we serve the most disadvantaged wards in our area.
We have mapped the postcodes of our children against the Indices of Multiple Deprivation put out by the Deputy Prime Minister’s office – 48% of our pupils live in areas that have been identified as within the most deprived 10% in England, in terms of income deprivation. The majority of these disadvantaged children come from the Mirpuri community.
These are the children who come to us – 45% of our pupils are eligible for free school meals, in contrast with the grammar school half a mile away – which has 2.7% FSM.”