Parents condemn 'racist' allocation: Asian students denied choice of schools

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The Independent Online
ASIAN PARENTS in Bradford, West Yorkshire, are refusing to enrol their children in secondary schools next month because they say the local education authorities' allocation scheme is racist.

Parents of about 30 children claim they are denied choices of good schools enjoyed by wealthy white parents because Asian areas have been 'deliberately excluded' from the catchment areas.

They have pledged to break the law by withholding their children from school until they are given places in schools of their choice.

In the High Court yesterday, Philip Engelman, for Sikander Ali, 56, who is acting for the parents whose children have been placed in schools they had sought to avoid, said Mr Ali could not accept the Bradford education authority's offer of Fairfax school for his son, Moksudul, 13.

Fairfax and other schools, where children have been given places, are thought to have low academic standards and poor disciplinary records.

Next month, parents will tell the court that the education authority's allocation scheme is unlawful because it is discriminatory. The court will hear that about 5 per cent of white children in Bradford are denied places in their top three chosen schools, compared with almost 30 per cent in the predominantly Pakistani and Bangladeshi area of Manningham.

Parents have welcomed the authority's decision to review its allocation policies next year but they insist their children should be admitted to their chosen schools this year.

Moksudul, who left Manningham Middle School in July, said he was 'depressed' that he would not be starting school on 6 September.

His father said he would break the law until his son was admitted to one of the three schools he had requested, Nab Wood, Hanson or Beckfoot.

'There is only a 5 per cent A to C grade GCSE pass rate at Fairfax and there is no way I am going to send my son there,' he said.

'I want Moksudul to go to a good school where he will be encouraged in his studies and will be around pupils who can act as positive role models. It's vital for his future but the local education authority has let me down.

'I came to Britain from Bangladesh in the 1960s and spent nearly 30 years working in the textile mills. I don't want my son to go through what I did and as far as I'm concerned, education is the key to success,' Mr Ali said.

A spokesman for the education authority said the children would be 'welcome to dip their toe in the school year at Fairfax without prejudicing the court action'. It denies racism.

The hearing was adjourned until 9 September.

(Photograph omitted)