A PRIMARY school that reportedly asked a class of children to line up in order of colour has defended the lesson as "celebrating diversity". Ryelands Primary School, in Albert Road, South Norwood, has faced accusations from a parent this week that teaching assistants asked a Year 6 class to line up "from lightest to darkest". The school was taken over by Oasis Community Learning last Thursday after Ofsted judged it to have fallen into special measures. The next day, reports came out about the class, which Oasis has not denied and has defended in principle. Oasis founder Steve Chalke told the Advertiser: "The activity that has been so widely misreported wasn't one that was just randomly plucked from thin air. "It was a part of a session intended to help older students, preparing to go to secondary school, learn how to discuss our differences in a positive way while recognising that we are all as important as one another." The class is thought to have involved around 30 children and taken place in the school's playground. No members of staff have been disciplined as a result of the class and Oasis has staunchly defended them. Mr Chalke claimed the students involved in the class were "really sad" to see the school criticised in the national media and they had "always known it to be a warm place of inclusion". He added: "The Oasis badge is a circle, you will see it on all of our buildings as well as on the blazers and sweatshirts of our children. "Our students and staff around the country know it as our 'circle of inclusion'." Nero Ughwujabo, chief executive of Croydon Black and Minority Ethnic Forum, criticised the school's methods of celebrating diversity. He said: "Their explanation is insufficient. It would be good to know their evidence for that sort of teaching. "Some children wouldn't have been best pleased. If they haven't plucked that out of thin air then they need to explain where they got it from." He added: "It isn't a teaching activity I've ever heard of." Ryelands is set to move to new premises around the corner at the old CALAT centre, in Sandown Road, in September. Its head teacher Carmel Dolan decided to leave a few weeks ago and was replaced by Di Morgan, who was previously head at Oasis Academy Johanna in Waterloo.
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