A primary school has come under fire from parents after it emerged children were told to line up in accordance with their skin colour during a lesson.

Year 6 pupils at Ryelands Primary School, in South Norwood, were asked by teaching assistants to organise themselves "from the darkest to the lightest" during a class on Wednesday.

Oasis Community Learning, which runs the school, today defended the lesson, which it said was intended to teach children about diversity ahead of them starting secondary school.

But some parents branded it "highly inappropriate" and said it had led to one pupil being picked on due to the colour of their skin.

One child's mother, who asked not to be named, said: "Parents have told me children laughed at one child because he was 'the blackest' and arguing about who was darker and who was lighter, which is not something that you want to be happening in your school.

"I would be mortified if it was my child.

"I think it is highly inappropriate. Parents have complained but the school did not apologise for it, they tried to explain it away."

Oasis said the lesson in question was designed to help prepare children for secondary school, including by talking about ethnic diversity.

A spokesman for Oasis said: "Inclusion is our raison d'etre and we are very committed to equality.

"In this instance, it was about celebrated differences and saying it is OK to talk about them in a positive way but recognising we are all the same underneath.

"We fully support the teaching assistants that were involved but of course we are always willing to listen to feedback about how we do things in the future."

Was your child in the class in question? Tell us your thoughts by emailing chris.baynes@london.newsquest.co.uk or calling the newsdesk on 0208 722 6351.