A school in Milton Keynes has apologised after pupils were encouraged to "look Chinese" by pulling up the sides of their eyes during a class photo.

Six and seven-year-old students at New Bradwell School had been told to dress up in costume for a China day project, intended to celebrate the country's rich cultural heritage. However, the unnamed teacher and assistant gathered the class for a picture and told them to take up the racially offensive slant-eye pose.

The resulting photograph was proudly displayed in the classroom and resulted in an angry response from parents upon it discovery, according to MKCitizen.

"It was meant to show us what a success Chinese day had been. All the children were using their fingers to pull up the sides of their eyes in what I assume was an effort to 'look Chinese'. Even worse was that the teacher and the teaching assistant were doing it too," one mother said.

"These children will now think it's OK to do this, when it is clearly not. At best it's insensitive and at worst it's racism," she added.

Headmaster Phil Webster said the school removed the photograph as soon as they became aware and said an internal inquiry is now taking place into the incident.

"The school would like to apologise if we caused any offence and after our internal investigation has been completed will look to see if any changes need to be made with the school's procedures and policies", he said.

The Milton Keynes school was rated outstanding during an Ofsted inspection in 2012 and teaches over 500 students from the Bucks area.