Saturday, 13 March 2010

Mail blames immigrants for school overcrowding

Here's a not-in-the-least-bit-biased headline from the Mail website:

Schools 'overflowing' because of immigrant babies? The headline says so. So it must be true. There's obviously no other reason for what it says are 'overcrowded classrooms'.

Except...if you read into the article, there are other reasons. Such as a:

recession-fuelled exodus from private schools.


increasing fertility rates, possibly linked to maternity leave and tax credit policies.

Oh, and:

A sluggish housing market has compounded the crisis because parents are effectively trapped in areas with school place shortages.

Not to mention:

more than 1,000 primary schools have closed since 1999

The article doesn't actually give any statistical evidence to say how each of these factors has influenced primary school admissions.

Why bother, when you can just lazily blame it all on the immigrants?

It does say:

Applications for primary schools places have soared 23 per cent since 2008 in some areas

Yet the little table they produce shows only one area with a 22.8% increase since 2008 and all other areas significantly less (including one 7.8% decrease):

Indeed, the article states:

Our survey of local authorities suggests that more than half are seeing a rise in the number of applicants for primary schools this year.

It doesn't say how many 'more than half' it is - which suggests it may not be that many more. And that implies there are significant regional variations.

But why focus on those variations, or schools that have shut, or fewer children going private, or a sluggish housing market or increased fertility rates in the whole population, when you can just point an accusing finger at immigrants instead?


  1. I'm also dubious about the 'temporary huts' claim. My primary school used several huts like the one pictured as permanent classrooms because the main building wasn't big enough to house all classes. I left there 13 years ago so it's hardly a recent development.

    Of course, I realise this is a purely anecdotal personal account but it was a good school and wasn't overcrowded. I highly doubt that using hut-like buildings as additional classrooms is uncommon. It just makes for a striking visual aid to push the overcrowding story.

  2. Dan - Good point. Several of the (red arrowed) comments also point out temporary classrooms have been around for decades.

  3. I remember my primary school having the 'mobile' the entire time I was there, and I left there 12 years ago - I think most people have similar memories.

  4. Well, that's a surprise and no mistake!

    The BNP have leapt all over this story and stuck it on it's website.

    The Mail really ought to take a long look at itself for the number of its stories that end up as being invitations for the bigots to come up such gems as "If immigrants account for one quarter of all live births in Britain now, muslims in particular, then we need to hurry up and get cracking to clear the scum out of our country". From an *ahem* EnglishLady.

  5. "stuck it on it's website."

    Oh dear me. 0/10

  6. The Mail seems to be walking a tightrope in publishing these stories that seem only to be bait for BNP supporters and designed to fill the comments section with appropriately vile remarks.

    Then of course the Mail claims to be anti-BNP.

    It's all very curious.

  7. My primary school(was actually called a 'First School', before Primary/Secondary system was introduced in my area) had 2 of these classrooms well over 24 years ago.

  8. Just thinking about it, I was at primary school in the mid-late 60s. One of my years was spent in the free-standing dining-hall (large 30s built construction) with our books put into boxes which were then put into slots on the wall at dinner time. It could hardly be described as a classroom.

    After I left they put 2 portacabins on part of the sports field. These were there for quite some years. Temporary accommodation is nothing new.

  9. The Daily Mail article has been re-hashed by the BNP and appears on their website.

    You might be interested in the the website of the South Wales Evening Post which is owned by the same group that owns the Daily Mail.
    Kevin Edwards, a BNP candidate, posted a comment about the article on 13-Mar-2010 23:02. He states that he is appending an ONS report. It is not an ONS report. It is a BNP article.
    I posted a comment pointed out that the BNP candidate was misleading people. My posting was deleted, after a few hours, by the website moderator.
    When I complained, I was informed by the Evening Post that I had been banned. It took a screen snapshot of the notice and I am quite happy to let you have a copy.

    This is my emailed response to the editor of the SWEP: -
    I have been informed by your website that I am banned from posting comments to you.
    I have taken a snapshot of the page.
    Well done.
    I wonder what Edward R. Murrow would have said about you had he had to meet such spineless wonders.

    It is a disgrace that you allow Kevin Edwards to post a comment on 13-Mar-2010 at 23:02 which is a lie. The report does NOT come from the ONS: It comes from the BNP website. The stats are misleading and BNP report is worse than the Daily Mail article from which the BNP obtained the "story". ("Yet another Swansea school to close doors" Friday, March 12, 2010, 18:59)

    Does Kevin Edwards control your newspaper? I notice that you have deleted comments on the article thread that are critical of the BNP candidate - Why is that so?

    Shame on you if you do nothing.

    Shame on you for allowing Kevin Edwards to promote his "Justice for Linda Lewis" campaign on your website.

    Shame on you for allowing Kevin Edwards to "pronounce guilt" on NPT social workers and get away with naming them on your website. Do you think kangaroo courts are good thing? ("Staff in US recruitment trip" Tuesday, March 09, 2010, 10:00)

    Shame on your newspaper for creating BNP stories out of thin air e.g. Phoning a lawyer with a hypothetical question about what would happen if someone in the SWEP area was sacked purely for belonging to the BNP and then composing an article. ("Lawyer's BNP warning" Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 11:55)

  10. we had portakbin classrooms too - i left school 2003. they had been 'temporary' since forever. as you say, it's nothing new. just a ridiculous excuse for the daily mail to preach their hate.

  11. I left school in 1987. We had portakabins back then.

    Mind you, I was born in Malta, so I'm probably classed as an immigrant who was crowding our schools even back then.

    I do have two British parents, was born on a British RAF base and in a British hospital, but let's not let the facts get in the way of a good headline.


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