Four out of five immigrants' children are corralled in segregated schools, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) figures warned today, amid union claims that "disastrous" free schools could worsen them further still.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) called on Education Secretary Michael Gove today after the OECD annual Education at a Glance report found students from poorly educated families were largely shunted into subpar schools, continuing the cycle.
Citing "significant challenges" for immigrant students, the study of 2009 data found that around 80 per cent of students from an immigrant background are enrolled in schools with high concentrations of other immigrants - 12.4 points higher than the OECD average.
And around 80 per cent of immigrant students whose mothers have only GCSE-level qualifications are in disadvantaged schools, more than any other OECD nation - the average is just 55.9 per cent.
Yet even those with well-educated, degree-level mothers fared little better, with 42.5 per cent ending up in the same disadvantaged schools, again more than in any other OECD nation and almost double the OECD's average of 26.1 per cent.
NUT general secretary Christine Blower urged the government to take heed, citing the OECD spotlight report on "growing segregation between schools" in Sweden earlier this year.
Mr Gove has hailed the country's embrace of free schools as a model for the Tories' own policy - but Ms Blower said he was now ignoring "clear warnings."
The policy, which allows parents to commission private, publicly funded schools with their own curriculum, finances and admissions criteria, had "a disastrous effect in terms of exacerbating inequalities in education."
A spokesman from the Migrant Rights Network said it was true that first-generation migrants were more likely to find themselves doing lower-skilled jobs.
But the main factor in a student's performance was still economic hardship, not immigration status itself, he said.
A Department for Education spokesperson said the government was "determined to tackle the appalling gap" - but would do so with more academies and free schools, not less.
Almost 80 free schools have opened so far, with more than 2,000 academies - many converted from state schools.
The government's planned Pupil Premium programme would also give extra funding to schools taking on students from disadvantaged backgrounds, she said.
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