The number of racially motivated assaults in Glasgow schools has more than doubled since the beginning of the decade.


The city council recorded 18 attacks in 2010 but that figure rose to 46 last year, an increase of 155%.

The overall number of racist incidents in Glasgow schools has also gone up from 128 to 145 in the four years from the beginning of the decade, an increase of 13%.

The figures were obtained by the Evening Times following a freedom of information request to Glasgow City Council.

The local authority's education department also revealed that 134 languages are now spoken by pupils, meaning Glasgow's school population is the most ethnically diverse in the country.

Racist incidents reported in schools can include physical assault, verbal abuse and ridiculing another pupil for cultural differences.

The figures have been described as "the tip of the iceberg" by an anti-racism charity.

Jatin Haria, Executive Director of the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights, said: "Our previous research into racist incident reporting showed that the practice was fairly poor across Scotland.

"We also know that many incidents aren't recorded, so the official figures are just the tip of the iceberg.

"Racism affects people of all ages in Scotland, and this needs to be openly discussed. We need to identify better ways to educate young people so that they don't take on board the racist attitudes they see in wider society - what's being done at the moment clearly isn't working."

The SNP's education spokeswoman, Councillor Mhairi Hunter, has called for an immediate investigation into the rise in assaults.

She said: "Any increase in racially motivated attacks is concerning, especially when they involve children.

"The council has good policies in place to promote multi-cultural and anti-racist education but we can't be complacent.

"I am going to ask for a paper to be brought to the Children and Families Policy Development Committee so we can consider if there are further steps the council can take."

The senior councillor also suggested that inflammatory comments made by some anti-immigration politicians could have contributed to the increase.

Councillor Hunter added: "For me, this also reinforces the need for high profile politicians to be careful about the language they use about immigration and race and to remember their words have an impact in real life."

This view was echoed by the Executive Director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, Eileen Prior, who said: "From our perspective we have to acknowledge that schools reflect what is happening in wider society, and it is a sad fact that violence and prejudice exists outwith schools."

She added: "Glasgow City Council and many other organisations, as well as parents and pupils, are addressing racism and discrimination in school. This is a serious issue and one where all parties share a common perspective of zero tolerance."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said they do take a zero tolerance approach to racism in the classroom.

She added: "We have specific curriculum lessons in place from nursery to secondary school to tackle this issue and our schools will continue to do all that they can to educate our young people about all nationalities and races living together in harmony."

Other councils in the west of Scotland have also recorded an increase in racially motivated incidents.

North Lanarkshire, where 60 languages are spoken by pupils, recorded the biggest rise of 28%, up from 21 in 2010/11 to 27 last year.

East Renfrewshire, which boasts some of the top performing state schools in the country, recorded a 23% rise in racially motivated incidents.

The total jumped from 47 at the beginning of the decade, to 58 last year, higher than in Glasgow, where there are ten times as many schools.

A spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council said she has "no concerns about these figures or racism being a problem in East Renfrewshire schools."

She added: "Reporting this rise as a percentage increase distorts the reality. These figures have risen by eleven reported incidents in total over the course of four years. Alleged incidents are also recorded and included in our figures here.

"We do a lot of work with equality co-ordinators in each school to be vigilant, investigate incidents and we are very, very robust on reporting them. When something is highlighted to staff and they receive training we find that instances of incident reporting go up as a result.

"We follow advice and guidelines on dealing with any incident appropriately."

West Dunbartonshire recorded a 25% rise in racial incidents in schools, from 20 to 25, while neighbouring East Dunbartonshire's figures are down 22%, from 31 in 2010 to 24 last year.

The number of incidents recorded by South Lanarkshire Council's schools fell 23%, from 57 to 44, while Renfrewshire Council recorded the biggest drop from 42 to 27 incidents, a 35% reduction.

A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: "We put a lot of effort in to providing all pupils with support and guidance on issues of equality and fairness.

"That takes in personal and social development and is backed up by clear reporting procedures.

"The number of incidents reported can vary from year to year but we are encouraged by what is a positive trend in the reduction in reported incidents."

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