Professor Ted Cantle: advocate of bridges not barriers

By staff writers
June 6, 2013

Professor Ted Cantle, Chair of the iCoCo Foundation and a leading national expert on community cohesion and intercultural relations, has joined the Accord Coalition for inclusive education.

He is one of an increasing range of voices in public life, education, cultural life, religion and education speaking up for a shift in schools policy towards building bridges rather than allowing barriers to increase. His first major outing for Accord will be speaking at the launch of the broad-based Fair Admissions Campaign (FAC) in London on Thursday 6 June 2013.

Professor Cantle set up the Institute of Community Cohesion at the University of Coventry, and authored and chaired the groundbreaking The Cantle Report, which was commissioned by the Home Office and published in 2001 after riots in Bradford, Leeds, Oldham and Burnley that year linked to racial injustice and division.

The report, which popularised the subsequently much-abused term 'community cohesion', argued that the fragmentation of communities along religious and ethnic lines and the lack of contact between those communities reinforced disadvantage and discrimination, and was an underlying cause of the unrest. The report described communities as living ‘parallel lives’.

Explaining his decision to join the Accord Coalition, Professor Cantle commented: “We still have an alarming number of young people growing up in ignorance of ‘others’ and with little or no chance to dispel stereotypes and prejudices. Faith schools add to these divisions and the prospect of their expansion to all minority faiths, which cannot be denied to them, will create an even more balkanised community. The only solution is for a new open and mixed school system.”

The chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, notes that "Professor Cantle has made an enormous contribution to the debate about the effect that schools may have upon cohesion and inter-cultural relations. His support further strengthens Accord’s voice and we are delighted to welcome him as a Distinguished Supporter."

Professor Cantle joins Accord’s growing list of Distinguished Supporters, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The list includes:

* Rt Rev Richard Holloway, former Bishop of Edinburgh, and leading figure in arts and culture in Scotland
* Naomi Long MP, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland’s first MP elected to the House of Commons; Northern Ireland’s largest non-sectarian party
* The Rev Professor Christopher Rowland, biblical theologian at the University of Oxford
* Dr Caroline Lucas MP, former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales
* Baroness Tessa Blackstone, Labour Peer, Minister for Education (1997-2001) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Greenwich
* Lord Glentoran, Conservative Peer and Olympic gold medallist
* Philip Pullman, author
* Polly Toynbee, journalist and writer

The Cantle Report can be read in full here (*.PDF Adobe Acrobat document):

Professor Cantle’s own website can be found at

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