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'Sleepwalking' Toward Segregation in the UK

The Observer reports that many English schools are "sleepwalking" toward segregation. In many communities—particularly those in mill towns in northern England—students rarely attend class with children of a different ethnic background.

According to the Department for Education and Skills, in Blackburn, four secondary schools out of nine there attract more than 90 percent of their pupils from just one ethnic group, the Observer reports. (The Observer is the Sunday edition of The Guardian.)

As Stephen Byers, a former schools minister, put it: Statistics "show that in parts of the country we are sleepwalking towards the segregation of schools on racial grounds."

In response, the Tories have outlined a "dramatic" plan, the newspaper says, to factor race into some school placement decisions. The plan would set "targets to ensure white and Asian pupils are educated together at any academies set up in northern towns such as Blackburn," political editor Nicholas Watt writes.

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