Lord Bruce-Lockhart, Chairman of the Local Government Association and former leader of Kent’s Conservative Council, has raised eyebrows by saying state schools in ethnically diverse areas should admit a proportion of pupils according to their ethnicity. His reasoning was that:

"Children start off being colour-blind and this is a wonderful thing.
But if you have schools where the children are being educated in
different ethnic groups you are going to lose that and you are simply
not going to have integration."

He also mooted the idea of twinning white and non-white schools, and of having them under the same management. The Muslim Council of Britain’s education spokesman took a libertarian stance on the issue:

“You cannot tell a parent that they cannot send their child to the
school of their choice because it has met its racial quota. The right
of parents to send their children to the school they want is a
fundamental right in this country.”

In practice, disallowing pupils from going to their preferred school because of the colour of their skin would be very controversial, but hopefully Bruce-Lockhart has helped kick-start a frank debate on social cohesion.

Deputy Editor