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A debate like this could become very ugly very quickly. I find this policy unusual given Willetts and Camerons comments on selection in the past two weeks. Whats in it for those schools...where would the motivation be?

The truth of course is that schools that selected by ability would be more racially mixed but that option has just been ended by Mr Willetts.

So schools cannot select by ability but can select by race? I need to see this idea in its entirety but on the face of it it does seem a totally absurd idea. This is the sort of thing that one could have expected from a Labour council in the 1970's/80's. They brought the Labour party into disrepute then, let's hope ideas like this don't bring us into disreputr now.
However it is not entirely clear exactly what David Willetts is proposing or whether selection by race will be compulsory. If I have misinterpreted his idea then I apologise to him.

Isn't there meant to be a policy review? If he keeps pre-empting the review like this isn’t it going to be a waste of time?

It was bad enough for candidate selection, but for schools too? Soon there would be a system of racial preference throughout society. It is only a slight advantage that the motivation would be to help less well off minorities. The result is the same: to cement racial thinking and disadvantage capable individuals.

We should be opposing such retrograde policies on principle, not proposing them. Can a conservative still support the Conservative Party?

Its an idea that interests a small percentage of voters but risks grabbing terrible headlines. It is the headlines that most people read (someone please tell Willetts).

"Tories call for selection by race"
= nasty party

An E- for another Willetts idea that fails the media savvy test.

Doesn't this break the race relations act anyway?

What a terrible idea. Alienating core support does not help win elections!

This is a frankly abhorrent policy. Is Willetts really suggesting that we go from saying 'sorry, there isn't a place' to 'sorry, if you were black/white we'd have a place but as it is there's only places for black/white children left'?

Based on his recent arguments, he probably is actually putting this forward as a serious issue. The man is a liability and seems to revel in his status as one. Frankly I don't care if he now delivers an incredibly long well worded answer to ConservativeHome readers. Why? Because his ideas are wrong in principle.

This is an idea that could have slotted beautifully into the 1983 Labour manifesto. As many people, both members, supporters and those not involved with the Party have observed over the past few days, David Willetts is single-handedly making the Party unelectable with policies which are not Conservative and never will be.

So what does Willetts propose ? To breach the ECHR and UN Charter by denying Muslims to educate children in accordance with their faith ?

"Race" is code for Islam in Newspeak and Doublethink.

The Church of England rendered its schools simply LEA schools open to all without any real Christian ethos in this area - some C of E Schools in Bradford are completely Muslim at primary level.

White women do not produce enough children to balance those born to imported brides from Kashmir who often have four children before they are 24....how does Willetts intend to solve this imbalance in Northern cities - a defined breeding program ?

The whole Conservative Policy on Education now appears to be social-engineering with anyone who cannot afford fee-paying schools being cajoled into another great experiment.

Maybe if people like Willetts actually left Havant and moved into Manningham or Barkerend or even Buttersha or Holme Wood he could gain some insight before he starts treating people in nOrthern cities as if he was some District Commissioner in Colonial Africa

Right, Mr Willetts. Please answer this point: the Conservative Party says it is strongly in favour of (a) localism and (b) more freedom for schools but what happens if these schools, backed by local people, decide to select by ability as well as by race?

In other words, will the clunking fist of central control intervene to impose Whitehall dogma on communities?

Not necessarily, Jennifer. A school which set out to attract the brightest children in a town might end up with a disproportionate number of pupils from Indian families, and from Chinese families, but relatively few from Bangladeshi families and virtually none from Afro-Caribbean families. There's no need to delve into possible racial variations in intelligence - which in any case wouldn't account for the poor average achievement of children of Bangladeshi extraction compared to those of Indian extraction - it's a matter of observation, which we've seen clearly in the local primary and comprehensive schools attended by our own children, that Indian and Chinese children usually do well, and outstrip the average white English child, while Bangladeshi and Afro-Caribbean children often lag behind.

I would also comment that putting different ethnic groups into the same school doesn't mean that they'll mix, or at least that they'll mix any more than they have to. So you may find that there are multi-racial or multi-ethnic groups of children with similar interests and outlook - eg some of the more academically inclined children may prefer each others' company, even when they're playing football,
and there may be multi-racial gangs of thugs - but there may also be groups based solely on ethnicity which keep themselves apart in the playground.

This could be terrible for race relations. Think of a new Academy with 1000 pupils and a 50/50 quota for sake of argument. The parent of the 501st white child can't get them into the school because of the target... Do I need to go on?

"Bird of a feather, flock together."

An old proverb which may explain the mixing in places like Blackburn. Has this proverb become racist now?

The children of "arranged" marraiges from the Bangaldeshi communities often have a mother who has been "imported" and who does not speak english, and who is often unable to read and write. So totally uneducated herself, she is unable, through no fault of her own, to further her children's development. To "Bradford" you are so right. I was a Health Visitor in one of our ethnic majority areas in West Yorkshire for the last 8 years of my career, and saw it all first hand.
The proposal that spouses under the age of 21 years are verboten, is a jolly good idea. It would go some way to preventing these bewildered, downtrodden little girls, standing in the baby clinic, not being able to speak, being overpowered by their bullying mothers in law, having no say in the care of their own baby.
My link worker was a STAR!! She used to gently spirit the girl away to the other side of the room, while I kept the mother in law from hell in conversation, and then she had a long chat to her in urdu/punjabi/pashto/ whatever.It was all that we could do, and it should NEVER have been allowed. The trouble with do gooders, and political correcters, is that they have no knowledge of what their ideas REALLY cause, and how they are being manipulated by spokesmen from an ethnic community. No spouse under 21. Lets hope we stick to it. The days of I owe my uncle/brother/ cousin/ guy I borrowed money from/name your obligation/ should be over in the 21st century. A daughter is not a bargaining weapon, she is a human being.

Add to that that Iain Dale has just accidentally exposed the whole Cameron pledge to have a 'grammar stream in every subject in every school' as a complete con.

The tories plans to simply divide existing classes by ability and to call the top set the 'grammar stream' irrespective of the nationally comparitve skills levels of that set.

As Dale admits:
"If there are 900 pupils in a yeargroup with an average class size of 30 you need 30 teachers. If you set them by ability you still need 30 teachers."

So if a school has just 5 kids of grammar-level maths ability, they will still find themselves as a minority in a class of 30 that has been named the 'grammar stream'.

No new teachers. No new money. Simply a PR exercise of renaming a class of completely mixed ability that includes the brightest as the 'grammar stream'.

A complete con.

If there's one thing worse than voluntary segregation it's forced integration. Nobody likes being forced to associate with people they don't want to. Obviously voluntary segregation isn't good for community cohesion but at least it maintains the peace, albeit a possibly uneasy one. Forced integration will just kick up an utter disaster like bussing did in America. We need to find a way to encourage voluntary integration.

We also need to remember that as Conservatives we ought to allow people to associate with whom they wish rather than indulge in top-down state planning.

Oh dear. It just gets worse. I think people have voted with their feet about which schools they send their children; or indeed which areas of a community in which they live. That BBC programme about the differing ethnic groups NOT mixing in Blackburn said it all about race relations today. Is Cameron trying to add to the millions of Conservative voters who have consistently 'sat on their hands' for some time. You cannot force differing ethnic groups to mix, it just won't work. Anyway, i fully expect Cameron and the 'Ok Yah' brigade to leave their homes and move to asian dominated areas of the country to show how serious they are about 'cultures mixing.' Is that a pig i just saw flying?! I've moved from being pro-Cameron to being anti-Cameron! And he's not even been in Government yet. That's some achievement.

This is a frankly abhorrent policy. Is Willetts really suggesting that we go from saying 'sorry, there isn't a place' to 'sorry, if you were black/white we'd have a place but as it is there's only places for black/white children left'?

Abhorrent indeed. It is apparent that the Cameroon faction of the party leadership is now totally and irredeemably infected with the poison of Political Correctness.

The best insurance against this evil would be increased party democracy, with all such radical changes in policy invalid without the approval of the grassroots.

Party democracy needs to be the rallying cry of all true Conservatives.

The trouble with do gooders, and political correcters, is that they have no knowledge of what their ideas REALLY cause

Yes, Annabelle. I couldn't agree more.

So what a shame you spend 90% of your time siding with the sort of Politically Correct elements who tell us that immigration has been good for Britain.

It hasn't.

In principle if a town needed a new school it would make sense to locate it so that its catchment area straddled any boundaries between ethnic groups. But as has been pointed out previously, in some towns the ethnic boundaries are moving so quickly that a school which was envisaged as having a 50:50 intake could turn out to have a 75:25 intake even by the time it was built and opened, and not too many years later that would become 100:0. Unless of course selection on the basis of race or religion or ethnicity was imposed, rather than being encouraged, in which case children would be bussed back and forth. It wouldn't be the first government scheme to be mooted as voluntary, which became compulsory.

The truth is that attempts to promote integration are largely doomed to failure while we allow their effects to be neutralised by continuing mass immigration.

Michael Portillo had an article in the Sunday Times yesterday:

"No, minister, migrants should wait their turn for a home"

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/michael_portillo/article1845231.ece

in which perhaps the most striking passage is this:

"The public has never been consulted on whether it wanted a multiracial Britain. Politicians (mainly middle and upper-class ones who live in areas largely unaffected by migration) have admitted large numbers of foreigners because of postcolonial guilt, and as a way of driving down wage rates."

And to enable their friends and supporters to profit from the additional housing and infrastructure which becomes necessary, and to displace and dilute the hated and despised indigenous British (especially English) population.

It's a pity that it's taken him so long to speak out on this.

Sorry for long post but it's complex:
"No one can be forced to apply for a school and we don't want to bus children around"
so the selection by race comes down purely to an attempt to increase diversity in education by putting in new schools to try to break the circle of ghettoisation.

Getting away from selection by geography which results in schools representative of the communities in which they operate, by offering schools with wide catchment areas and a positive mission to try to attract a diversity of applicants. Nothing says they shouldn't be able to select on academic or other abilities (perhaps using Bedford School's new scholarship test which doesn't use an exam).

All well and good but as others have pointed out the problem isn't with secondary education. It starts with the desire of people to live in communities of like minded souls - based on race, religion, background, profession or aspiration. Then children go to primary schools, smaller, local and as a result much less diverse in intake.

Many communities also positively fight assimilation - marrying out of Judiasm, Islam, Sikhism even to an extent Catholicism or Orthodox is frowned on. Intermarriage is the driving force of assimilation.

The other force is need to make a living. In some Asian and Jewish communities people can make good without having to assimilate, there are opportunities within the community and this leeds to less friction with the host community. The Chinese and Jewish communities in parts of London are examples.
Friction comes where the community tries to remain separate and protect it's culture but where individuals need to change/assimilate more to prosper (so we get the headscarves arguments)

I can't see anything wrong with new schools trying to attract diversity by race but that doesn't do much but play at the edges of the problem; if the pressures of assimilation grow on communities unwilling to change they will become more violent in fighting change, more protective of their cultures, more likely to go for faith schooling.

Annabel is right to point to the importation of spouses as a sympton of the desire of those communities to remain separate. This re-inforces the separation as each generation of children remain close to first generation immigrants with strong links to their parents country of origin. That circle has to be broken if we want to have social cohesion and deal with social exclusion.

Willets ideas on schools might be a small step towards that but it isn't the foundation for what needs to be done and could be counter-productive if it's seen as discriminating in favour of one community over the other.

Where will all this social engineering end? Perhaps in the not too distant future, every teenager in these scholls will also be compelled to date someone from a different race or religion. Relationships within the same race or religion will be frowned upon. After all, it will do wonders for integrating society so we can't be against that, can we?

I think it might be time for Willetts to check into The Priory for a week or two....perhaps using the Oliver Letwin suite

schools, sorry

Intermarriage is the driving force of assimilation.


Didn't work in India....or Yugoslavia....nor in Iraq....nor Lebanon....

Back in the 1960s and 1970s we were never specifically told by the powers-that-be that 'immigration is a good thing'. Quite the contrary in fact.

The argument then was that we had a purely moral duty to admit Commonwealth immigrants because of past pledges re passports etc.

However while condemning the 'racialism' (not quite sure how and why this word became the semi-literate 'racism' - but let's leave that aside for the time being) of Enoch Powell and others, successive government took action - some of it relatively effective - to close the gates to newcomers.

You may recall the Immigration Act which introduced the concept of 'Patriality'. Immigrants effectively had to prove an element of 'British' descent and that was in principle an excellent idea.

Now all and sundry are allowed to flood in, from countries that have no connection with Britain and never formed part of the Commonwealth.

The public want the floodgates closed, senior Labour figures now speak out, yet all we hear from the supposedly 'patriotic' Conservative Party under Cameron is a deafening silence.

Why?

"In principle if a town needed a new school it would make sense to locate it so that its catchment area straddled any boundaries between ethnic groups. But as has been pointed out previously, in some towns the ethnic boundaries are moving so quickly that a school which was envisaged as having a 50:50 intake could turn out to have a 75:25 intake even by the time it was built and opened, and not too many years later that would become 100:0."
Denis, you've hit the nail on the head here. The fact that we have voluntary segregation in towns is part of the whole problem. It also serves as a useful model for what would happen if you forced schools to have mixed ethnic backgrounds - you end up with voluntary segregation within the school.

We have to tackle this underlying problem before we even contemplate tackling it within the school environment. The plans outlined by Willets will not do this in any way shape or form. The issue is figuring out a way of doing this without forcing madatory quotas about socialising with other ethnic groups...

In act if you look at US cities and university towns - Yale is in New Haven, a real slum......Tufts in Boston is in the inner city, USC is near Watts, and it is clear that they were not built in slum areas but the emigration from the inner city to the suburbs has left many of these Universities marooned in ghettoes of later immigrant populations.

The same is true of many British cities as the US experience has been replicated because Britain sought to emulate the US and even utilised US academic research to recreate American High Schools and US social conditions

The fact that we have voluntary segregation in towns is part of the whole problem.

No Chris. It is the solution. It is the only way forward. Look at US cities - they have organised into a grid....a Medical area, a University area, a black area, an Hspanic area, a White middle class area, a White working class area, a shopping centre area......

If you suspend a solid in a liquid you create an emulsion, but unless you keep shaking it the solids will separate out from the liquid.

If you want lives managed directly and continuously by the government follow Willetts prescription...but freedom will die and people will be prisoners of the government

Is this the first time the Conservatives have offered a solution to encouraging integration and ending the problems of multiculturalism?

I'm amazed that some people are trying to spin this as a left wing move.

Ye gods, what is happening to the Conservative Party? In the 1980s there was a Tory poster with a man on it with the headline "To Labour he's black; to the Conservatives he's British".

The only acceptable basis for discrimination should be ability, whether between or within schools.

But I recall listening to the radio at the end of the 1950's into the early 1960's, when soothing politicians, including Tories, liked to tell us not to worry because the new arrivals would quickly integrate, especially if we helped them to do so.

It was only later when it became clear just how difficult integration could be that the official line was reversed to one of compulsory celebration of our unintegrated, multi-everything, diverse society.

"I'm amazed that some people are trying to spin this as a left wing move."

Forcing people to associate with those who they would rather avoid - smacks of state-enforced left-wing social engineering to me.

Oh dear, it does rather look as if the upper echelons of the Tory Party are intent on destroying it entirely.

I recall a speech by Robert Kilroy-Silk, when a UKIP MEP, saying that UKIP needed to kill off the Conservative Party by standing a UKIP opponent against all Tory candidates in the 2005 GE. I've noticed that the Orange one has disappeared from the public gaze, or has he ? It seems that a perma-tanned grinning chump has appeared in the mean-time, doing exactly as Kilroy-Silk wanted - i.e. 'killing the Tory Pary'.

Just a question, Mr Cameron - Are you RKS in disguise ? I think we should be told.

Of course this policy is social engineering. I have very big concerns about this policy now since in Cameron and Co's desperation to want a balancing of the field, it has ended up having to tear up basic principles in policies. In doing so, the new policy is very illogical. If we believe in localism and educational freedom, shouldnt it be up to the Governing Bodies of the schools to make the call as to how it gets its intake, as long as it meets basic requirements for fairness? If we believe that selection is a bad thing due to the creation of barriers, then why are we calling for the use of selection in order to do the opposite whiulst retaining the current selection system in the Grammar schools to which we spoke out against?

This new education policy could really come back to haunt Cameron in time for the next General Election.

There is the possibility of arguments about what race children are, parents might seek to define them a particular way to get places - of course race actually has no biological evidence, in fact a Finn and a South Sea Islander of the same gender are more genetically alike than a Male Finn is from a Female Finn and a Male South Sea Islander is from a Female South Sea Islander. Race is a social concept based almost entirely on superficial differences with some rather misguided notions about the history of mankind and what are cultural and religious differentiations thrown in as well. Having schools divided along religious lines or cultural lines is one thing, but along lines of some kind of notional racial divisions could cause chaos.

I've noticed that the Orange one has disappeared from the public gaze, or has he ?
I was listening to Radio 4 yesterday and heard Robert Kilroy Silk being interviewed with others on the subject of Grammar Schools and how failing the 11+ and going to a Secondary Modern School affected him, he reckoned probably for the better in that he thought that the teachers at the Secondary Modern helped him a lot wityhout which although he thought he might well have become a politician he didn't think that he would have got to the LSE.

It seems from the comments on this thread that some want a Britain where Black and white don`t mix and we have a country divided by race and religion.
The proposals to give councils and headteachers the power to prevent there schools becoming dominated by any one race is a positive proposal that will benefit children and there communities not damage them.
This thread shows with its undercurrent of racism that some in the party still haven`t come to terms with the fact that we are a multi-racial country now not the white one many look back at with rose tinted spectacles!

Jack Stone proves my first comment at the top of the thread by calling us all closet racists...

The proposals to give councils and headteachers the power to prevent there schools becoming dominated by any one race is a positive proposal that will benefit children and there communities not damage them.

You are such an irrelevance Jack Stone in Southend. We know far better than your opinionated self what works here and people like yourself should stop being so pompous and arrogant telling Muslims and others in areas like this how they should live.

BTW...."Black" is an insult to Muslims you Islamophobe

Surely anyone looking back with rose-tinted spectacles would see a rose-tinted country, not a white one ... but it wouldn't have been a country where anyone felt the need to warn against "schools becoming dominated by any one race". Why do I get the feeling that "Jack Stone" actually rejoices that these problems have been created, where they didn't previously exist? Can he explain to me what my family has gained from the process which has created these problems?

How on earth can forced experiments in social engineering such as this sit comfortably with the supposedly Conservative doctrine of parental choice then?

"Tufts in Boston is in the inner city..."

Excuse me? What you said about Yale and USC may be true, but while Tufts may be just across the municipal line in Medord, but it's walking distance to Davis Square, the trendiest and most expensive part of Somerville. It's hardly the inner city. Houses in the area routinely sell for half a million dollars.

"Jack Stone proves my first comment at the top of the thread by calling us all closet racists..."

But we all knew he was going to. A so-called "tolerant" and "liberal" conservative who believes in forcing people to mix against their will. One word: troll.

[RKS] reckoned probably for the better in that he thought that the teachers at the Secondary Modern helped him a lot wityhout which although he thought he might well have become a politician.

Do you think it would be possible to devise an education system that would have actively prevented Kilroy-Silk from ever becoming a politician?

Now that really does seem like a productive use of our time.

I'm a big Cameroon but this is clearly a wrong move.

It's basically social-engineering, something all Tories should oppose and stay well clear of.

Imagine being a white parent ordered to send your children to a Somali dominated school in Peckham or an all-Pakistani school in Bradford, Oldham, or Burnley.

It's the slaughter of the innocents all over again, this time by the cult of multi-culti political correctness which, sadly, seems to have spread to one wing of the Conservative Party.

The inevitable backlash, when it arrives, will be huge and far from pretty.

In many cases, community schools just replicate the social and ethnicity demographics of the local population.

Forcing quotas on schools will not solve a massive problem which is based upon barriers between race, langauge and culture.

Once upon a time, the Tories were big enough to face up to issues like these. Now it looks like the Labour idea of 'put em together and they'll all be the same' has worked with our MP's too...

Could the Editor put up a thread to debate whether or not Mr. Willetts should consider his position? He's a liability the Conservative Party can ill afford.

Excuse me? What you said about Yale and USC may be true, but while Tufts may be just across the municipal line in Medord, but it's walking distance to Davis Square, the trendiest and most expensive part of Somerville. It's hardly the inner city. Houses in the area routinely sell for half a million dollars.

Dave, you are partially correct

http://www.tufts.edu/home/maps/boston/

Tufts University - Boston Campus

136 Harrison Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02111

Have the idiots taken over the asylum??

This social engineering will backfire in a big way. No one wants it, or needs it, least of all those ethnic groups the Cameroons are attempting to woo.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy first they make mad.

The kindest word one can use to describe Tory education policy at the moment is "muddled": there are others but none which one might deign to use in polite society.

I have been carefully going over in my mind all the reasons I decided I was a Tory aged about 17 (circa the time Traitor Heath won vs Wilson) and matching them against current Cameron policy. Score: 0/10. Hmm. But there again "Dave" despises my vote, doesn't he, so he'll not worry anyway.

Now where's that UKIP pamphlet?

So let me get this straight: it's ok for schools to select by gender, wealth, religion, and now even race; but selection by intelligence -the one selective quality with the ability to increase racial and religious intergration, as well as social mobility - is beyond the pale.

Truly, I see no good reason to vote 'Conservative' at the next election - and this coming from someone who supported Cameron in the leadership election.

Have so many forgotten when many both in and out of the party advocated integrated schooling as a long term way to solves the problems in Northern Ireland?

I also wonder how many people commenting on this thread actually have any real conception of just how ethnically divided our cities are. There is a timebomb ticking.

TomTom, the Boston campus is Tufts' Medical and Dental Schools. Yes, it's next to Chinatown and to where the old Combat Zone (red-light district) used to be 20+ years ago. It's far from a slum comparable to where USC and Yale are: that'd be like saying Leicester Square was "the inner city."

FYI, I grew up in Boston; my mom went to Tufts and until she moved up to Gloucester lived three blocks from the main campus, just down the hill on the Somerville side of the Medford line. So I suppose I probably know what I'm talking about. ;-)

"I see no good reason to vote 'Conservative' at the next election - and this coming from someone who supported Cameron in the leadership election."

This is a recurring theme amongst my friends who are Tories and voted for Cameron (despite my warnings at the time who and what he was - despite the likes of Daniel Hannan crying the opposite). How they all wish they could re-run the leadership election and select the other David. "Too late", I say, "Too late, if only you'd listened !".

I could almost feel virtuous, however, seeing the despair of those same friends who were fooled does entirely remove any such feeling, I only feel sadness for them.

I also wonder how many people commenting on this thread actually have any real conception of just how ethnically divided our cities are. There is a timebomb ticking.

Perhaps we could heed these words - 39 years too late, of course:

"As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood". That tragic and intractable phenomenon which we watch with horror on the other side of the Atlantic but which there is interwoven with the history and existence of the States itself, is coming upon us here by our own volition and our own neglect."

and until she moved up to Gloucester

Gloucester on the coast upstate ? Isn't that where there used to be a seafood shack called Woodmans ?

I also wonder how many people commenting on this thread actually have any real conception of just how ethnically divided our cities are. There is a timebomb ticking.

Really ? It works just fine. They do their thing and we do ours. They move outwards so we move closer to Harrogate...everyone is heading for North Yorkshire.

Live and let live

I think I have to agree with Willetts' ultimate aims - increasing integration in our society can only be good - good for communities, good for civic society, and yes, perhaps good for our security in the long run. While that obviously can't and shouldn't be forced, I see no harm in bearing in mind whether policies encourage it. I think those who write here about the inevitability of voluntary segregation are being a little narrow in their focus. I agree that it's probably a common trait of humanity to cluster together around common factors and common interests - but to limit those factors to ethnicity and faith is surely to limit the whole spectrum of human interaction in Britain?

This is however, as I understand it only an idea, since the Sunday Telegraph's anonymous leak gave more "details" than Willetts' quote today - and the idea of the school system helping to increase cultural integration is an appealing one. If we are to pull closer together as a society, something we can all support, then of course we have to address the more recent phenomenon of disaffectation of the young. I am unsure, however, whether secondary school selection will be a hugely useful tool in this. Some contributors on this thread have expressed concerns that unsubtle measures may result in only limited integration within the particular institution itself, and I think I have to agree that this is a potential pitfall. There are a number of earlier factors, both in primary education and within the family and wider community, whose impact is probably more difficult to address - I am thinking in particular of early socialisation, for example.

In terms of the particular measures that have been discussed, I am not sure that numerical quotas are really under consideration here. For them to be a workable tool in practice they might need, for example, to be adjusted school-by-school to reflect the realistic catchment area of that school. I am inclined to agree with a previous contributor who suggested that existing anti-discrimination legislation might have to be adjusted to avoid the possibility of legal challenge to such a system, although I am by no means an expert in the field.

I am in agreement with the broad aims, and find them laudable, but there is perhaps some additional development work to be done on this policy (judging only from the quotes I have seen) if it is eventually offered to Academies as a selection criterion.

Integration shouldn't be forced.

Integration takes times.

Haven't we learnt that yet?

And still is, TomTom. Best fried clams in the world.

And still is, TomTom. Best fried clams in the world.

Posted by: Dave J | May 28, 2007 at 20:05

Used to have great lobster at great prices !

Well...I'm not so sure that this one is as simple as others here suggest. I put it to you that you are missing something: Many schools are already allowed to select on the basis of things other than talent - e.g. religious belief. Furthermore, the Conservative Party already has (at least something close to) a policy of forcing schools that select on the basis of religious belief to select a portion of students from outside that religious belief - the aim being to enforce integration.

This policy concept seems to me to be along similar lines (except this time in terms of a freedom to select rather than an obligation). If we can have schools in which 75% of places can be offered to Jews, provided that 25% of places are offered to others, why can we not have a policy that 25% of places will be offered to Slavs and 75% to non-Slavs?

Now, as it happens, I'm against the policy of forcing faith schools to take certain percentages of people from outside the faith group. But that's not because I think it is necessarily an anti-religious policy, as such. I just think it goes against the sort of diversity I think we should be encouraging at this stage. (Indeed, I can imagine that if we were successful in stimulating a large number of faith schools, I might eventually come to favour the policy in a mature market. My objection is simply that it's the wrong policy at a time when we are encouraging an expansion, since it might tend to curtail the incentives to offer such schools.)

On racial selection, I'm more ambivalent. Can those of you that oppose it spell out more precisely what the objection is supposed to be to allowing (i.e. permitting, not forcing) a school to set aside a proportion of its places to members of ethnic groups that would be unusual for the school, under circumstances when that might encourage greater ethnic diversity within the school? Isn't that potentially an interesting and useful freedom to grant schools?

Everywhere on Cape Ann has great lobster at great prices. :-p

Isn't that potentially an interesting and useful freedom to grant schools?

It is indeed, Andrew, and I think that you've just made a very useful contribution to the debate by couching it in those terms.

Thanks, [email protected]:40.

Just to clarify my question, since I know that many people that read this site aren't used to thinking as Conservatives - my question is *not* "Why isn't it a good thing for schools to select a proportion of their students on the basis of race?" I consider the answers to that fairly obvious, and my personal view is that it would be a bad thing if schools chose on that basis (indeed, I find it difficult to imagine any circumstances under which I would consider it a good thing).

But, remember, lots of things that are a bad idea are allowed - including lots of things in education. We don't want to insist that every school organizes itself in the same "approved-as-best" way.

So, *my* question is "Why would it be a bad thing if schools are permitted to select a small proportion of its intake on racial grounds, when that permission would only be granted in cases where to do so would encourage greater ethnic diversity?"

Andrew there's an implication in your final question that diversity is in itself a virtue. Absent any overlapping factors,I would question that. It seems to me that diversity is neither a virtue nor a vice, it is merely a state.

Now there may well be hypothetical situations where other factors come into pay - for example if all the good teachers were at the all white school. In that example structuring a mixed intake would have some justification in countering unfair disadvantage, though even then I believe the selection should primarily be on intellectual achievement and potential.

Instinctively I'm a libertarian and don't like any form of social engineering. But I guess I would have to go along with some sort of measures as outlined in my previous paragraph. But I would have strong caveats that the rule should be permissive not prescriptive. And my fear would always be that the zealots would soon turn up and try to enforce a form of Gleichschaltung.

The problem about the politicians idea of 'integration'is that many areas in Britain have run out of 'integratees'so it has been necessary to let the immigration monster reach out to where the former 'integratees'live and force them to,well,integrate.

Well Willetts has just sunk Kris Hopkins PPC Keighley and boosted the BNP vote - no doubt Conservatives will come third here. What a turnoff for Northern England....Conservative Policy is to buy their own children out of mediocre State education but to force yours into schools where English is barely spoken and where pork is not served and where girls and boys have separate swimming lessons and where the children go to the madrassah after school.

If only we could put Willetts' children into Carlton-Bolling so they could enjoy the wonders.....a school parents steer their children away from at all costs.

So it looks like Hague might as well pack up in his forlorn quest for Northern Conservatives - they will keep their heads down after this proposal to inflame tensions

Melanie

On the London School of Islamics website, Iftikhar Ahmed posts this open letter to Ruth Kelly

It is the mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the Muslim way of life, not the other way round.

Hmmn. Now where have I heard that precise jihadi line before? Ah yes… right here:

article

So reassuring to know that our political leaders are determined to face down this dialogue of the demented by standing up for truth and western values.

Martin [email protected]:03

I didn't say that diversity is necessarily a virtue. I merely suggest that it isn't necessarily a vice, so that promoting it may not always be something to be forbidden...

Of course we must have integration, because the alternative is disintegration.

But efforts to achieve integration will be largely neutralised while the government continues to allow and encourage mass immigration. Instead first stop the inflow, then allow and encourage the population to consolidate into one people.

Cameron is surely a plant. Recall what Igor Gaidar said about the Western media? The same applies to parties, logically. A sleeper has awoken and is destroying the COnservative Party.
I'm joking, of course. I think. Cameron is just a public-school ninny.So how did he get so far?

Andrew Lilico yesterday @09.36

I know you didn't say diversity is necessarily a virtue. But to me it is implied, otherwise why would special permission be granted in order to encourage it: "when that permission would only be granted in cases where to do so would encourage greater ethnic diversity?"? In my experience, people don't normally encourage things unless they see them as a benefit.

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