MORE than 150 complaints about racist abuse have been made in Worcestershire’s schools in the last four years, it has emerged.

Your Worcester News can reveal how at least 157 reports of racist abuse have been made across primary and secondary schools, including two where pupils made allegations about teachers.

Some headteachers say the rise of social media such as Twitter and Facebook has given pupils more options for bullying.

Data shows complaints of racism in schools has been on the rise, and in two of the years primary schools had more recorded incidents than larger secondaries.

Worcestershire County Council insists it is doing all it can to try to bring the figures down, but has admitted it does not hold records of the outcomes of each complaint as the schools have to address it themselves.

A Freedom of Information Request to Worcestershire County Council has revealed:

- Between 2009 and 2013 there were 74 complaints made about racism in primary schools, and 83 in secondaries

- Of the overall tally 155 involved fellow pupils, but two were made by children against teachers

- In the two-year period between 2009 and 2011, complaints across all schools totalled just 40, but it shot up to 60 in 2012 alone, a 50 per cent rise, and in 2013 ended at 57

- In both 2011 and 2012, there were more racist complaints made in county primary schools than secondaries

Councillor Liz Eyre, cabinet member for children and families, said: “We do have a supportive role to play and a lot of work goes on around anti-bullying and inequalities to try and bring this down.

“We engage with the county’s Youth Cabinet, and the Safeguarding board looks into this issue and the reasons around it.”

Schools say the incidents they encounter are very low.

Alun Williams, head teacher of Nunnery Wood High School in Worcester, said: “We monitor and record any incidents of alleged racism and deal with it very seriously.

“Although we wouldn’t say it’s led to specifically more racism, social media does give people another platform to say very unpleasant things about each other, they call it ‘keyboard warriors’.

“But we do a lot of work to promote positive role models and help pupils understand different ethnicities.”

Lindsey Cooke, the headteacher of Hanley Castle High School, said: “We have a very, very low number of racist incidents and as they get older it dwindles to nothing.

“It tends to be only very young, new students. But we do a huge amount to promote tolerance, it’s good to be different.

“Every summer term we have Chinese students come over and spend time in lessons with year 7, 8 and 9 pupils - it’s a brilliant experience for everyone and a great two-way thing.”

The school also had a Holocaust survivor, in his 80s, come in last May to speak to students.

Sean Devlin, head teacher of Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester said: “It’s not an issue - whenever we get a complaint it’s investigated thoroughly but there are very, very few.”