RACISM in Lancashire’s schools is falling, according to latest figures.

The number of incidents reported to Blackburn with Darwen Council has dropped by 28 and in Lancashire County Council’s schools racism fell by 10.3 per cent compared to last year.

Education bosses said that they had been working with schools to promote community cohesion in a bid to stamp out racism.

Unions, although pleased with the progress, said they feared that racism could increase between schools and within communities, with free schools and academies if they segregate communities.

In Blackburn with Darwen, 42 incidents in primary schools were reported in 2009-2010 and 12 in secondary schools, compared to 14 in primary schools and 12 in secondary schools last year.

In Lancashire, there were 475 incidents logged in 2010-2011 compared to 530 in 2009-2010.

Coun Maureen Bateson, executive member for children's services at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “As the figures show, there has been a marked reduction in racist incidents in primary schools in the borough, which bucks the national trend in many ways.

Our schools have an absolute zero tolerance of racism.

“For example, there is an event on community cohesion called 'Communities Together' at Pleckgate High School on May 29, whch will launch a report on good practice in schools around community cohesion.”

Mike Snelson, Lancashire County Council's acting principal adviser for quality and continuous improvement, said: “Lancashire's schools are fully committed to stamping out racism and staff treat all racially-motivated incidents with the utmost seriousness.”

Simon Jones, national executive member and Blackburn with Darwen branch secretary for the National Union of Teachers, NUT, said: “There has been a lot of partnership work done in Blackburn with Darwen Council on anti-racist education.

“But all of the positive work that we have done on anti-racism and community cohesion is at serious risk of being undermined as academies and free school segregate communities.”