The presence of minority ethnic pupils in Western schools has long been characterised in negative racist terms, with concerns being expressed about their problematic behaviours and achievement and their potential negative impact on schools and other (i.e. White) pupils as a result of their ‘alien’ demands and identities. As highlighted by high profi le cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, the USA historically adopted a policy of formally segregating minority ethnic and White pupils – a policy which was successfully challenged as Black families mounted a series of legal cases to demand equality of opportunity for their children (see e.g. Chapman, 2005 for review and discussion).1 In Britain, the schooling of minority ethnic and White pupils was not formally segregated to the same extent; however, research and testimonies have documented how discrimination against minority ethnic groups was systematised within mainstream British education for decades (e.g. Swan Report, 1985; Mullard, 1985; Troyna and Hatcher, 1992). Mullard (1985), for instance, discusses how Black children were assumed to be detrimental to, and a burden on, White schools, so were ‘bussed’ to different areas in order to spread and minimise the impact across schools. White authorities also hoped that such dispersal would encourage (or force) the children concerned to ‘assimilate’, and adopt the dominant White culture (Mullard, 1985; see also Rattansi, 1992 for a discussion of the history of multicultural education policy in Britain).