Last week the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling about employers’ right to force retirement, a census showed that independent schools reflect UK’s ethnic mix, and two interesting reports were released – one on the attitudes towards nationality and race in the UK and another on improving services for BME disabled people.

In a landmark ruling, the UK Supreme Court decided that employers do have the right to force employees to retire if they have a legitimate aim. It was ruled that ensuring fairness between generations could be considered to be a legitimate aim. In the case, Mr Seldon argued that the decision to make him retire at Kent law firm Clarkson Wright and Jakes, which came before the default retirement age was abolished in October, was age discrimination. However, the court turned down his appeal.

A census for the Independent Schools Council shows that independent schools reflect UK’s ethnic mix.  While 74.5% of pupils (280,671) in independent schools are from white British backgrounds, 25.5% (95,904) are from minorities. Rudolf Eliott Lockhart, the ISC’s head of research, said: “I think it reflects wider British society – this is the ethnic mix we see in the UK and it’s as true in independent schools as maintained schools.”

The think-tank British Future has released a report on attitudes towards ‘nationality’ across the UK. A part of the report focuses on the importance of race to modern British identity. Of the people surveyed, 22% say it is ‘very or fairly important’ that someone is white if they are to be regarded as truly English. A further 25% say it is ‘not very important’ while the proportion saying being white is ‘not at all important’ was 49%. The report can be downloaded from the British Future website.

Another interesting report was published by the charity Scope on providing better services to BME disabled people. The report presents new, wide-ranging evidence about disabled people from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds and recommends how policy-makers, local authority commissioners, and service providers can improve BME disabled people’s access to services.

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