Increase in racial incidents reported in schools.

Nearly 88,000 racist incidents were recorded in Britain’s schools between 2007 and 2011, the BBC has found. A racist incident is defined as any situation perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.

Following the inquiry into the murder of teenager Stephen Lawrence, the previous government said schools in England and Wales must monitor and report all incidents of racist abuse to their local authority.

Between 2007 and 2010 – the last year that heads had an obligation to record cases – recorded racist incidents in schools in England, Scotland and Wales rose from 22,285 to 23,971. “Clearly were would not want any cases of racist abuse or racism in any of our schools.”

Many local education authorities say that the increase in reported incidents – up until 2010/11 when the guidance changed – is due to better recording methods. “It is teachers and parents – not central government – that know what is happening in their schools, and they are best placed to deal with racist behaviour when it happens.

“We would expect all schools to implement their own processes to ensure they are dealing with racist incidents in the most appropriate way, rather than being bogged down with paperwork from the centre – which can sometimes mean that the most serious cases of racism are not dealt with.”