A COUNCILLOR has raised concerns that reporting of racist abuse within schools needs to be improved.

Monmouthshire councillor Armand Watts raised the issue at a meeting of the council's children and young people select committee, after hearing how Manchester City star Raheem Sterling had offered to support 13-year-old Newport County AFC fan Ethan Ross who, the meeting heard, was racially abused at a Monmouthshire school.

The Premier League star met up with the young footballer he wrote a letter of support to after being told he had suffered racial abuse.

"I was concerned by it because I have a mixed race family and I was concerned about the level of reporting and how we support our young children," Cllr Watts told the meeting.

"Racist bullying is not just bullying, depending on the age it can be a crime of hate."

The Thornwell ward councillor called for an inquiry to be made to find out whether racist bullying incidents are being 'under reported.'

Cllr Louise Brown called for caution in relation to looking at individual cases and said the matter needed to be about procedure.

Chairman of the committee, Cllr Martyn Groucutt, agreed that looking at the issue in the future would be about procedure.

He said: "In a brief discussion with councillor Watts earlier there was concern that the issue might not have been recorded or reported within the school concerned, so it's very much about procedures and how the authority can monitor and ensure that incidents are dealt with effectively."

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Watts said he was also concerned about the issue as his son had recently been racially abused and spat at during an incident at school.

"For my son and the Newport County fan who was discriminated against this is something that could be remembered for the rest of their life and change the way they think about the world and for me that's heartbreaking," he said.

"I believe that incidents have taken place and my concern is they have not been reported.

"It is important because the more these incidents are logged and reported the more the issue is properly recognised and understood and that gives people the confidence to come forward."

He added that the issue is not specific to Monmouthshire.