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New website measures diversity in England’s schools

Press release issued: 20 January 2010

Measuring Diversity, a new website launched today by the University’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO), sheds new light on ethnic segregation in England’s schools.

Measuring Diversity, a new website launched today by the University’s Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO) sheds new light on ethnic segregation in England’s schools.

It is the first open-access online resource on segregation in local authorities in England. Users will be able to follow trends over the seven years to 2008, the most recently available data.

The website shows that: 

·        One in eight (13 per cent) secondary school pupils in Manchester are of Pakistani ethnicity. Fewer than one in a hundred (1 per cent) of these pupils attend schools that have mostly white pupils, while over half (55 per cent) attend schools that are mostly non-white. At the same time, segregation of pupils of Pakistani ethnicity in Manchester has been falling over the last seven years, 2002 to 2008

·        Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils in Oldham account for around 30 per cent of the primary school population. Around 80 per cent of both Pakistani and Bangladeshi primary school pupils are in schools that are mostly non-white, and this proportion has remained roughly constant over time. The ‘dissimilarity index of segregation’ for Oldham is very high at around 0.8 for all ethnic groups: this means that 80 per cent of pupils would have to change schools to achieve the same distribution of pupils in schools to that of the local authority

·        The most segregated ethnic group in Camden are Bangladeshi pupils. Three quarters (76 per cent) of Bangladeshi primary school pupils attend schools that have mostly non-white pupils, compared with just under half (49 per cent) of Black African pupils and one in six (17 per cent) white pupils

·        The percentage of white pupils at primary schools in Wolverhampton has gradually decreased from 69 per cent in 2002 to 57 per cent in 2008, although the level of segregation has remained roughly constant.

Professor Simon Burgess, co-creator of the site and director of CMPO, comments:

‘One of the biggest questions of our times is how well individuals from different ethnic groups get along together. Schools are an important place where this interaction takes place.

‘It is a common saying that people’s attitudes are strongly influenced by their school days. So the peer groups that children play with, talk to and work with are important factors moulding their perspectives on society.

‘The extent of ethnic diversity in schools is an important issue of public debate. This website provides some facts to enlighten this debate.’

The website provides up-to-date and comprehensive information on ethnic segregation in schools in England. Measuring segregation is not straightforward, so the aim is to provide policy-makers and researchers with timely information to monitor and understand this complex issue.

Users of the website start by picking a local authority from a map or a list, and choosing what statistics to view. Results are presented for the most numerous individual ethnic groups across England. The available statistics include different measures of the ethnic composition of schools, and different measures of segregation.

All of the statistics are fully explained in plain English. Users of the website can choose between viewing details for an individual year or trends over time. Users can also pick another area to compare with their chosen local authority, and can choose to make the comparison for all or just selected ethnic groups. Tables and graphs are downloadable.

 The statistics on the website were calculated at CMPO, an independent research centre at the University that is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). The ESRC is the UK's leading agency for research funding and training in economic and social sciences. The website was created by Professor Simon Burgess, Ellen Greaves and Simon Speight.

Further information

Please contact Simon Burgess for further information.
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