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to wonder how one of the most ethnically diverse school in the city manages to have a completely white choir?

(80 Posts)
LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 20:46:44

Stuck at the ILs watching a recorded version of every school choir in the city to see DN's school.

I was quite sad to see a completely white choir from a school where more than 90% of the school isn't white.

Hatethis22 Sun 27-Dec-15 20:47:49

Do they sing religious music? That might rule out non Christians which could impact the diversity of the choir.

SawdustInMyHair Sun 27-Dec-15 20:49:23

It wouldn't be the only one. The chances are that the white kids are more likely to be middle-class (or seen to be middle class). I've rarely been in a school where the MC kids don't so show end up doing more activities - even free, in-school ones - than the WC ones. Especially in secondary schools.

springydaffs Sun 27-Dec-15 20:49:35

Somebody/s somewhere is racist.

Report to the governors, see how you go.

LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 20:50:03

They weren't singing religious music (during the TV slot anyway), but they are a church school.

SawdustInMyHair Sun 27-Dec-15 20:51:09

(also we have Muslim kids removed from music lessons regularly, despite it not being something parents are allowed to do, so hatethis may well be right)

mudandmayhem01 Sun 27-Dec-15 20:58:00

My dds school is about 30% bme, she has been in several drama performances and concerts and it is a very small percentage of non white faces at these performances. The catchment for our school is mainly leafy suburbs with a sort of lollipop going into an inner city area. The kids seem to integrate pretty well, with the exception of after school activities, could it be partly down to distance from the school and transport issues?

Russellgroupserf Sun 27-Dec-15 21:03:02

I sang in choirs when younger but you had to put yourself forward. So its either that the dc for whatever reason don't put themselves forward or they are being turned away at audition, possibly both?

Birdsgottafly Sun 27-Dec-15 21:03:44

My DD went to a diverse school and had Muslim friends, they didn't join stuff like the Choir, because they had duties/worship that took up too much time to get involved in extra stuff.

Their lives were very disciplined and the Parents wouldn't/couldn't deviate from that.

Same with the Sikh families that I've known.

So there may be a variety of reasons.

Russellgroupserf Sun 27-Dec-15 21:04:28

Sorry what I was trying to write was it could be totally innocent or not.

LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 21:05:06

I just thought it was quite sad. Surely you want your choir to reflect your school. All of the what, 250+ families can't surely be anti-choir.

Wigeon Sun 27-Dec-15 21:10:37

Actually, I've noticed the same about my DD's school - she's recently joined the choir but I'm sure the BME mix in the choir is not the same as the school as a whole - ie more white than the school as a whole, which is above 50% BME. I wonder if the teachers have noticed and if they think they should take any action?

DH however is a classroom music teacher at a local secondary school, and runs the boys' choir, where he has a good BME mix, although not necessarily one which mirrors the school as a whole - Asian boys seem more likely to join the choir than black or other BME background kids. Smallish choir though, so variations aren't likely to be statistically significant...

Although tbh he is more focused on getting any boys to sing at all!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 27-Dec-15 21:10:52

One activity in DS old school was on a Friday afternoon, which is worship time for many non-Christian people of faith. The HT noticed though and changed it, but the local football is still on a Friday and the teams are predominately white. Could it be something as simple as that? I agree it's wrong.

LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 21:14:07

I suppose it could have even have been filmed on a Friday afternoon, you're right.

theycallmemellojello Sun 27-Dec-15 21:19:37

I think that there may be a bit of an issue with immigrant families not seeing the value of extra-curricular activities, but even when I was at school in an extremely diverse (but not 90% BME) school this could not have accounted for an all white choir, and participation should be better not worse today. Also, even if there is less inclination from BME pupils to participate, the onus on the school is to encourage them and attempt to persuade parents. I agree that this looks very fishy.

Ladymuck Sun 27-Dec-15 21:23:00

Does the school have more than one choir? Our church school, which a significant BME intake has a chamber choir and a gospel choir, which attract different pupils.

VocationalGoat Sun 27-Dec-15 21:23:31

My son's choir is totally mixed... the whole school's diversity is on display across the board.
My first thought regarding your post was that prayer times might be an issue... locality too. We live very close to DS's secondary so he's involved in some activities. His local mates (all mixed from every background imaginable) are in the choir. But his mates who live quite a distance from the school aren't involved at all in anything extracurricular. It's an issue for families who live far from schools. Could be as simple as that.

Katymac Sun 27-Dec-15 21:24:20

I was told that often it take 3 generations of immigrant to assimilate into the new country's culture- with Polo, Opera & Ballet being given as examples

I don't know how true that is

WildStallions Sun 27-Dec-15 21:28:50

At my DCs very mixed school friendship groups weren't normally mixed

So I could imagine if you join because all your friends are doing it you could have an activity of only one race.

I very, very much doubt only white children were selected. It just wouldn't happen.

LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 21:29:35

Thanks, some food for thought.

Some of these choirs are dire, on a slightly different note!

LouLouLoves Sun 27-Dec-15 21:30:24

Surely a teacher would look at the group as a whole and do their best to change that though WildStallions. Especially in primary school.

theycallmemellojello Sun 27-Dec-15 21:32:13

@WildStallions - if it's true that friendship groups in your DS's school are split along ethnic lines, then the school is failing them. That's not normal where I am in London, and wasn't where I grew up in the north.

CastaDiva Sun 27-Dec-15 21:33:27

Yes, it could be that the choir director is a white supremacist. Or it could be that there are cultural and/or class reasons why the ethnicities which make up the majority of the school are so unrepresented. I have known a minority of Muslims of certain nationalities to take their children out of music lessons, and there may also be a sense that school choirs sing church music. Some children will have religious studies after the school day, and won't want a regular after-school commitment which might clash.

Especially if there is a high percentage of immigrant families in the school, there may well be an emphasis on 'useful' after-school activities/chores/tutoring, rather than what might be perceived as white, middle-class frills. I have close Indian immigrant friends who are regarded as eccentric by their relatives because their children have piano lessons and play football in kids' leagues rather than have extra maths and English tutoring.

Some more conservative families of various backgrounds don't like girls to be out and about after school hours, and some very much socialise within the family, so the kids are either at school or at home, or with cousins at a family member's house.

It may not even be that. I went to an all-white school in the 1970s/80s with a small minority of girls from middle-class backgrounds, who were hugely over-represented in the choir/drama/inter-school public-speaking and talent shows, purely because their parents encouraged them to audition and to be confident, and they often had out of school dance/music/elocution lessons so were far better than the rest.

I only discovered after leaving school that I had a good voice, because I would sooner have thought of trying to teach myself to fly than audition for the choir.

CastaDiva Sun 27-Dec-15 21:37:27

Katy, polo, opera and ballet are essentially middle-class, upper-middle and upper-class activities, even for those whose ancestors came over with William the Conqueror. The only people I know who play polo at all in fact, are scarily rich resident foreigners who nip about in a helicopter.

CastaDiva Sun 27-Dec-15 21:37:56

And actually aren't white.

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