Working Paper 11/275 - abstract

“Sleepwalking towards Johannesburg”? Local measures of ethnic segregation between London’s secondary schools, 2003 – 2008/9. (PDF, 824kB)

Richard Harris

Because segregation is the spatial outcome of spatial processes it makes sense to measure it in spatially intelligent ways. To that end, this paper applies innovative methods of geocomputation with particular emphasis on local indices of ethnic segregation to examine the claim that London’s schools are “sleepwalking towards Johannesburg.” It does so by looking at the flows of pupils from primary to secondary schools, using them to analyse the spatial patterns that form in the distribution of ethnic groups between schools, and to determine the geographies of competition between schools. Those geographies are codified in the form of a spatial weights matrix to compare any school with its average competitor, giving a local index of segregation. The paper finds that although there is ‘segregation’ in the sense that the distribution of the ethnic groups differs from randomness, from a nearest school assignment and with some substantial differences between locally competing schools, the evidence, focusing on the Black African and Bangladeshi groups, is not that ethnic segregation is increasing but fluctuating with demographic changes over the period 2003 to 2008/9.