Children as young as three are being branded racists, homophobes and bigots over playground taunts.

Thousands of pupils are being reported for so-called hate crimes after using innocuous words such as ‘Chinese boy’, ‘Somalian’ or ‘gay’.

Teachers also log insults like ‘doughnut’ and ‘fat bucket of KFC’. Even calling a pupil a ‘girl’ can be classified as abuse…

Josie Appleton, of the Manifesto Club, a civil liberties group, said: ‘Particularly worrying is the expansion of incident recording and reporting to ever-greater categories of prejudice, which seem limited only by the strange imagination of education officials.

‘One primary school pupil calling another a girl suddenly becomes a sign of gender image prejudice, subjected to recording requirements more thorough than accompanying most burglaries. A reality check is urgently required.’