Bristol

Pupils asked: 'Would you live next to a black person?'

Naomi and Chayse Image copyright Naomi Davis
Image caption Naomi Davis said her daughter Chayse felt "singled out" in the diversity lesson

A school asked pupils to rank potential neighbours based on who they would most like to live next to - from a list which included "a black person" and a "gay man".

Parent Naomi Davis complained to Bristol Free School when daughter Chayse told her about the exercise.

She said the exercise had been designed to do "something positive" but "hadn't achieved its objective".

The school said it would "review the materials as a result of her concerns".

It said the citizenship and diversity lesson was part of a "unit of work aimed at heightening students' understanding of the advantages of living in a diverse and inclusive society".

When her 11-year-old daughter came home, Ms Davis said, she told her mum she wanted "to show you something and I don't think it's going to make you happy".

'Very apologetic'

She then showed her a photo she had taken of the worksheet.

It invited pupils to rank potential neighbours, including:

  • Someone with a learning difficulty
  • A vegetarian
  • A guitarist in a band
  • A teenage parent
  • A hoody wearer

Ms Davis said her daughter "did not understand the context of why a black person would be on that list".

Image caption Bristol Free School said the lesson was about citizenship and diversity

Although she understood why teachers had given the "much-needed" piece of work, she said it had made Chayse feel "singled out".

"That's why I went back to the school - because they are trying to do a positive piece of work but this had the reverse effect," she said.

Ms Davis praised the school for its "extremely speedy response" and said they were very "apologetic".

She added she "wanted to make it clear" that the "main issue" with the list was the comparison between what a black person or a disabled person "might go through" to a vegetarian.

Ms Davis said the school had told her it was also going to work with parents from black, Asian and other ethic groups to help devise its worksheets.

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