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Schools 'can play a greater role in promoting social cohesion'

07/12/2016 Joanna

Schools across the UK have been called upon to do more to promote social integration and cohesion, in order to help tackle broader problems of demographic isolation and equality that exist within Britain.

Dame Louise Casey has published a report examining social integration in the UK, indicating that large social and economic gaps continue to persist between ethnic groups, despite rapid population change, and that ethnic segregation is increasing in some areas. It was also observed that women in certain communities are suffering from significant inequalities.

As such, the broad-ranging report highlighted a number of ways in which schools can play a part in tackling these problems, including by encouraging young people from different backgrounds to mix, both in a classroom environment and in more social settings, such as out on the sports field.

It was also suggested that the promotion of British laws, history and values within the core curriculum in all schools would strengthen the principles of integration, tolerance, citizenship and resilience in children, with greater weight attached to this kind of focus when developing teaching skills and assessing the performance of schools.

The government has already included a social need criterion in the allocation of free schools funding, which could be built upon to provide more opportunities for children to learn alongside those of different backgrounds, including by purchasing sites in the areas of highest segregation.

Dame Louise said: "Social integration is about closing the gaps that exist between people and communities.

"This report has found those gaps exist in terms of where people live, but also in terms of the lives they lead and the opportunities they have to succeed. So it is about how we get on in life, as well as how we get along with each other."

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