THE number of school exclusions for racist abuse doubled last year.

Freedom of Information figures revealed there were 20 exclusions for racism in Warrington during the past school year, compared to eight in 2017/18 and 10 in 2016/17.

It was the highest number of racism-related permanent or temporary exclusions in Warrington in the last six years.

Moazzam Hussain, general secretary of the Warrington Ethnic Communities Association, said: “Although it is very worrying to see the rise in racist incidents in schools, I’m not surprised as it is seems to be reflective of wider society.

“Political leaders have been saying Muslim women look like bank robbers and letter boxes, and Black football players are being subjected to racial chants and trolling on social media because of the colour of their skin.

“At a time when society is divided, school management and staffs are working very hard in keeping us all united.”

Five high schools made the decision to remove pupils between September 2018 and June 2019.

The academic year 2013/14 saw 10 exclusions, 2014/15 and 2015/16 had 16, then figures dropped for the following two years before the jump in the latest figures.

Keith Bradley, north west schools organiser for education workers’ union Unison, said: “The significant rise in racist incidents in Warrington schools is a real concern.

“Pupils and staff should be able to head to school safe in the knowledge that they will be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their ethnicity."

A spokesperson for Warrington Borough Council saw the figures as an increase in incidents being reported and dealt with correctly.

They said: ”While even one racist incident is one too many, the figures show Warrington performs very well against regional and national averages in dealing with this issue.

“Schools are becoming ever more vigilant and adept at identifying racist bullying and dealing with it, and children are feeling more confident to speak out and report it.

“The impact of social media and incidents outside school contribute to the need for schools to address this subject.”