The OECD report’s findings come after a London headmaster’s warning that the capital was turning into “apartheid-era South Africa”.
David Levin, headteacher of the independent fee-paying City of London Boys’ School - which has developed strong links with neighbouring state schools in Tower Hamlets and south London, said many children in inner city schools did not mix with other people from “different faiths, different races and different socio economic backgrounds”.
Research from Bristol University and statistics held by the Department for Education appear to back up both his claim and the findings of the OECD report.
The Bristol research found that in some areas of Manchester and London as many as eight in 10 Pakistani and Bangladeshi pupils attended “white minority” schools where fewer that one in five of their peers were white.
Figures cited in the report show 36 per cent of London’s primary schools have a white minority - compared with 22 per cent in 2002.
In Tower Hamlets, three of its schools have only five per cent of their pupils speaking English as a first language. Out of its 15 secondary schools, nine admit at least 70 per cent of pupils with a first language other than English.
One area that has attempted to tackle racial tensions exacerbated by social segregation is Oldham, greater Manchester, where the 90 per cent white pupil Counthill school and 90 per cent black and Asian Breeze Hill school have merged to become the new Waterhead Academy. The two existing campuses will move on to one site in November.