to think this is a little bizarre

(44 Posts)
AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 11:55:22

www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Devon-children-taken-London-meet-people-different/story-21203950-detail/story.html

Basically a primary school in Devon in its last Ofsted got a 'Good'. They obviously want 'Outstanding', and the only two recommendations offered by Ofsted in 2010 were:

* keep up the improvements in Years 1 and 2
* give you even more opportunities to find out about how people live in different parts of the United Kingdom and in other countries.

(They also add that 'pupils' understanding of multicultural issues is underdeveloped')

So they are being packed off to Hounslow to visit a school where most children are not white and have English as a second language.

AIBU to think this is patronising, and that they would not suggest that children in say Southall learn that their community is not remotely representative of most of the country, and that they should be slightly embarrassed at this fact and be sent off for re-education?

MrsFionaCharming Sat 07-Jun-14 12:04:20

I think it could be a good idea. My friend was a CofE youth worker for a church in rural Devon for a while. She took a group of teens on a trip to London for an event, most of them had never seen someone wearing a headscarf or turban before.

Growing up like that could cause problems later on, when they're suddenly made to integrate with people who probably seem so 'foreign' and 'other'.

AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 12:06:45

IME it didn't. I grew up in this kind of community, there was a tiny handful of ethnic minorities in a school of 1600, and everybody was much the same, except at one point a (white) boy moved to the school from Bradford (which had and has a large South Asian population) and he was just hideously racist going on about Pakis and such like. I just had no comprehension of what he was going on about.

Canthisonebeused Sat 07-Jun-14 12:08:58

I think the fact is that a child from say hounslow who are exposed to more diversity that an child in Devon, would have the basis already embedded that there are fundamental differences in how people are represented. The lack of exposure to diversity is what ofsted felt lacked in this particular school. They would be less likely to find that in hounslow because of the school community would already mostblikely to be fostering a positive attitude towards diversity and if they were not accommodating the diverse background of the pupils they would be given recommendations specific to this.

AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 12:09:08

Also I met someone yesterday who moved out from this area (actually Feltham), she told me, quite unprompted, because they were 'moving the blacks in'.

Canthisonebeused Sat 07-Jun-14 12:10:56

Sorry southall not hownslow

phantomnamechanger Sat 07-Jun-14 12:10:57

well having taught secondary school pupils who have never been further than the next village, I think it's a great idea!

pupils at that school were down very about unemployment because the pit had just closed (early 90s) and many of their dads/uncles/older brothers were unemployed. They thought they had no futures. They thought going to college/work in the nearest city (35 mins on the bus) was like going to the moon!

In a similar way I have met kids and adults from inner London who think "the north" is all blokes in flat caps, cobbled streets and whippets!

UriGeller Sat 07-Jun-14 12:13:36

I think its meant in the same way that kids from inner city schools are often taken on trips to farms because they should know that milk comes from cows and that chickens grow feathers and not breadcrumbs.

Its a generalisational dumbing down to think that all school children are so ignorant. I'm sure most of the pupils there know that there are people with different coloured skin about.

PrincessBabyCat Sat 07-Jun-14 12:14:43

I can tell you right now if I told DH and his friends (all of whom are dark dudes) that a bunch of white kids were taking a field trip to see dark kids, they'd be laughing their asses off. It seems incredibly silly to make an entire field trip to meet a dark kid. It's a great idea to broaden the kid's horizons, it's just the way they're going about it is face palmy.

whynowblowwind Sat 07-Jun-14 12:16:10

I don't like it. I don't think there's anything wrong in having a link with another school and visiting it but what I don't like is the aim - so the children can see children who aren't white.

It makes it a little too akin (to me) to visiting a zoo to see animals or visiting a muesum to see how Victorians lived. As someone said, it is patronising to both parties. I wouldn't want my white son being taken to London to see black and Asian children but I'd be outraged if I had a black or Asian son and some white children came from the country to have a look. angry

NothingMoreScaryThanAHairyMary Sat 07-Jun-14 12:19:50

Living in rural devon there is very little diversity. Our school has links with a local(ish) city school and schools elsewhere in the uk.

It's not patronising to want to know more about life elsewhere in the uk. Understanding should help to break down barriers, and help both sets of children ( not all children who live in the country are rich and ride ponies).rural poverty us a significant problem as is access to services and resources.

whynowblowwind Sat 07-Jun-14 12:28:41

I have no problem with finding out about life elsewhere in the UK.

I have a huge problem with the colour of a child's skin being the emphasis of this "educational" trip. There is quite a condescending subtext to it - they may as well say "now, these children are Different to you."

They aren't hmm they're just kids. My sons primary school is very white - one of his friends is a boy who is black. DS and his group of friends have just never mentioned it. It's not important to any of them, although they were intrigued when they went swimming and the little boys foot soles were pink smile but that little boy is just a kid like my DS and his other friends. He likes Harry potter, swimming and science at school. He's a normal, lovely kid.

I HATE the idea of taking children to "see" children like this, when all they are seeing is kids like them.

Visiting another school is a great idea. Visiting another school to see "non white" children is HORRIBLE.

Thenapoleonofcrime Sat 07-Jun-14 12:33:42

I don't see anything wrong with going on a visit to the city to learn about a different lifestyle than living in a small village, and as part of that noticing there's a more diverse range of cultures and religions for example. But I think it is very 'othering' to treat ethnic minority people as something to be gawped at or indeed ticked off a list for Ofsted.

Thenapoleonofcrime Sat 07-Jun-14 12:37:09

In fairness to the school though, they were pulled up by Ofsted for lack of awareness of diversity- what are they supposed to do? (given they had probably already done diverse religions, food celebrations etc, the stuff most schools do).

My dd's school had exactly the same Ofsted problem and they arranged some focus groups for the ethnic minority parents to discuss their issues- except they were cancelled for lack of interest.

Whatever they do, because they are not diverse themselves, comes over as patronizing but that's because it's a weird thing to measure- I think Ofsted have stopped this now, but the remnants of being accused of lack of diversity awareness remain.

phantomnamechanger Sat 07-Jun-14 12:37:29

it's not about the white kids just being taken to look at the 'different' black kids, like a zoo visit! It's mutually beneficial for children from very different places to have a relationship like this - they will probably do pen pals, send post cards, learn about local geography/traditions, landmarks, religions etc - it will be a benefit to the "whole curriculum" - in both directions

it is no different to my kids primary school who have links to a French school, they get penpals in Y4 and then visit them in Y6! Its no different to the private school my friend works at, having links with a school in Africa where they send stationery and old computers and again have exchange visits with pupils and teachers.

lljkk Sat 07-Jun-14 12:44:46

My children attend a 99% white British only English-language school. I'd love them to be packed off for some kind of exchange with a culturally diverse school.

I am one of the very few non-British white parents at the school. I still think it was highly educational when we went to California last month & the kids got to meet see & interact with so many culturally diverse people. It just can't happen locally.

DartmoorDoughnut Sat 07-Jun-14 14:18:43

Wish I'd of seen this yesterday! Would have perfectly backed up my point to DH that Devon is slightly ummm backwards when it comes to different races/faiths etc. Frankly as much as I love living here - and the county itself! - I find it all very strange and will definitely be taking MiniDoughnut to visit friends and relatives in different cities etc so that they don't grow up thinking this is the norm

WorraLiberty Sat 07-Jun-14 14:31:52

I think this is a great idea.

I wonder how many of those kids in Devon have had the standard school trip to the 'local' Mosque, Sikh Temple and Synagogue for example?

Even just reading some of the adult's posts on MN, you can sometimes tell those who don't live in a particularly diverse community.

And yes, the pupils in Southall should learn that their community is not remotely representative of most of the country.

I'm sure they get the opportunity to visit many other communities around them.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sat 07-Jun-14 15:25:34

erm Plymouth is culterally diverse, there are something like 65 different languages spoken in many of our schools, there is a huge chinese population, lots of eastern europeans, a thriving islamic centre that offers education to schools and a religious and cultural centre, we are also a welcoming city for refugee and asylum seekers, so no need to be going to London for diversity hmm

AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 16:47:50

Well they are about 60 miles from Plymouth, they are 'twixt Exeter and Honiton. It's not hard to think they could have gone a bit closer than Hounslow though in search of this blessed diversity. Bristol perhaps? Isleworth hasn't got all that much going for it.

AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 16:55:55

It does seem like it would be expensive to go to Hounslow from Devon, they could just go on a bus to Exeter surely? If I had to fork out for a trip to London I would want my kids to see some world class attractions.

pianointhedark Sat 07-Jun-14 16:56:08

Plymouth culturally diverse? Haha that's a good one

AgaPanthers Sat 07-Jun-14 17:04:24

Apparently Plymouth is 93% white British. Which is actually whiter than the South West as a whole. Bristol is more diverse though.

But there are other types of diversity besides ethnic.

WorraLiberty Sat 07-Jun-14 17:18:40

They probably will get to see some world class attractions as it's a 2 day trip.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 08-Jun-14 19:45:08

piano so what do you know about Plymouth then, I find it very culturally diverse, my kids have attended schools with a whole raft of different religion and cultures and as i said there are huge populations of different cultures in our city including those that are not ethnic. Its a great place to live, clearly no where near the levels of BME that Bristol or London have but not a complete backwater of never seeing a black face.

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