Wera Hobhouse speaks in Parliament about the racist incident at a Bath school that left the city in shock.
A ‘mock slave auction’ was held where a black child was allegedly tied up and then poked with sticks and called racist names. The governors at the school then overturned the headmaster’s decision to expel three of the boys involved. A police investigation in to the incident is underway.
The event received international coverage with MPs, campaign groups and protesters heavily criticising the school’s handling of the incident.
Wera asked the education minister:
“In light of the recent racism incident in my constituency in Bath, does the Minister believe that the safeguarding policies, procedures and processes in schools are strong enough, and that the Ofsted's inspection regime around safeguarding is adequate?”
Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State Education responded:
"Well Mr Speaker, I was truly shocked to read of the incident that the honourable lady refers to, and this sort of incident and racism in general must of course have no place in our schools or in our country. Schools do have to have a policy setting out measures to encourage good behaviour, including preventing of bullying, and where there are serious concerns, Ofsted has powers to inspect any school without notice."
Wera went on to say:
“There’s been a huge amount of divisive rhetoric coming from right wing politicians like Nigel Farage and some of those on the Tory benches. It’s no wonder that racist incidents in schools have dramatically increased. I put that down to the current acceptability and promotion of the politics of distrust and division. As a society we are setting an awful example for the next generation.”
“We merely have to take a cursory look at the last century to see what happens when these attitudes are left unchecked. We have a responsibility as politicians to work towards an inclusive and tolerant society, and there are many on the right of British politics who are failing in this task.”
“We cannot be complacent about the increase in incidents of racism in our society. It's vital that we don't just ignore this; it can't get swept under the rug."