School told to tackle racist 'teasing'

A HEADTEACHER has played down racially motivated incidents at his school after an Ofsted report called for measures to combat bullying and teasing directed at Portuguese and Polish minorities.

Will Clarke

A HEADTEACHER has played down racially motivated incidents at his school after an Ofsted report called for measures to combat bullying and teasing directed at Portuguese and Polish minorities.

Terry Lewis, headteacher at the Mildenhall College of Technology, said it was an issue brought to the attention of an Ofsted inspector when he visited the school.

Mr Lewis stressed that the inspector had recognised the “teasing” was rare.

But he said the school took racist incidents seriously, particularly because it had a growing population of students from eastern Europe.

He said: “As a school we do take this seriously. It has come to the surface because of large numbers emigrating from eastern Europe.

Most Read

“It is not something which is unique to the school - our middle and primary schools all agree that in the Brandon, Mildenhall and the fens area there are attitudes among a tiny minority which must be confronted.”

Mr Lewis also said the school had adopted policies to improve integration at the school, including a twinning initiative with a Polish school.

Artur Sorokin, 16, a Polish pupil of the school, said: “I am very happy living in Mildenhall. I think (teasing) is a problem but it is very small.”

Tiago Jorge,15, said: “This is a small town like the town I am from in Portugal so it has always felt familiar to me. Sometimes football events can be a problem (for minorities).

“English fans didn't like Ronaldo (a Portuguese player at Manchester United) at first but they have got used to the mix of nationalities in the game and things are a lot better than they used to be a few years ago.”

Holly Brown, who teaches English as an additional language, said she was currently teaching 34 pupils - mainly from eastern Europe - as well as a number of Portuguese students.

She said a number were already on for good predicted grades for their GCSEs and had integrated well into the whole school population.

Overall, the Ofsted inspection gave the school a “good” rating and praised teachers' progress in tackling rates of pupil exclusion and disruptive pupils.

Praise was also given to a system designed to keep track of students and to the school's vocational options on the curriculum. And the report called for better communication with pupils and parents and urged teachers to make classes more enjoyable.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter