Head’s ‘ghetto schools’ claim refuted by Tower Hamlets Council

Town hall chiefs have hit back at a claim by the head of a fee-paying school that kids in London’s East End and other inner city areas are being taught in “ghetto” schools.

David Levin, head of the �12,000-a-year City of London Boys, claimed London is “sleep-walking towards apartheid” as children in inner-city schools are “taught in ghettos”.

He was speaking at the Headmasters’ & Headmistresses’ Conference on Tuesday when he cited Stepney Green Maths & Computing and Science College as an example—with 97 per cent pupils with Bangladeshi backgrounds.

But it raised fury with the local education authority.

“Using a word like ‘apartheid’ is misleading and irresponsible,” said a Tower Hamlets Council statement.

“Comparing education in London to an oppressive system that was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people was extremely ill-judged.”

Mr Levin spoke at the conference of his “increasing alarm” at the way communities were split along race lines with youngsters of different ethnic backgrounds rarely or never mixing and the inevitable tensions it causes.

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The South African-born headteacher told the conference: “I think London is sleepwalking towards Johannesburg—the ghettoisation of the community. It means they are not mixing with people from other faiths, different races and different socio-economic backgrounds.

“Children from different backgrounds and faiths should be mixing with each other.”

His school, which has links with Stepney Green college through a mentoring scheme, said Mr Levin sticks by his comments.

But Tower Hamlets Council said it would be “alarmist to suggest there is ‘apartheid’ in east London just because children are receiving their education among other pupils of the same ethnicity.”

Pupils’ successes were not judged on whether they happen to be of the same background, the Town Hall statement insisted. They were based on equality of education they received with “internationalism promoted as a core principle in the learning environment.”