AN APPEAL has gone out to find former school pupils in Bradford from the 1960s and 70s who were “bussed out” around the district as part of a controversial policy to disperse children from migrant families out of inner-city areas.
Bradford was one of the few education authorities across the country which followed a recommendation by the Department of Education in the 1960s.
In a circular in 1965 the Government recommended that no more than a third of pupils in a school or class should be from immigrant families. This policy, which became known as Bussing Out, was later ruled to be illegal.
Little archived information exists about the impact it had in Bradford. Now the charity Artworks Creative Communities is looking for people affected by it - whether they were pupils, parents, teachers or bus drivers to tell their stories as part of an oral history programme.
Children involved would now be in their mid 40s to mid 60s. The project has been backed the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Ged Walker, co-director of Bradford-based arts Charity Artworks, said: “I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to secure Heritage Lottery Funding for Bussing Out project. I believe that the memories and photos that will be recorded and archived from this project will form the basis of a very important and informative community narrative that will teach us locally about our shared past and have a wider significance, nationally, in the way that cohesion and diversity are thought about in the future”.
The project’s co-ordinator is Shabina Aslam, an experienced theatre and radio drama producer. She said: “I came to Bradford from Kenya when I was eight-years old. My first experience of school was being bussed out to Bolton Woods Primary My brother went to the same school, he remembers at break-time, the other kids saying ‘let’s go play football’ and he’d respond with ‘yeah, let’s’ even though he didn’t know what it was, but was simply carried along by the general enthusiasm.
“It turned out to be kicking a ball up and down the school yard. It wasn’t until he saw the FA Cup final, on TV, in 1976, that he realised it was an actual game with rules and everything.”
The launch of the ‘Bussing Out’ project takes place at The Pavilion Café Bar, at Bradford’s City Park on Thursday March 10 from 5pm to 7pm.
Fiona Spiers, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund, for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “Bradford is a home to vibrant communities that play a vital role in city’s lively and varied character. This project will preserve this unique heritage by bringing lesser known stories to life, letting everyone get involved and share their past.”