Black and ethnic teachers face ‘endemic racism’

By Emmeline Saunders

Teachers who are black or minority ethnic (BME) face “endemic racism” within the education system, a study shows today.

Over half (54 per cent) of BME teachers questioned said they have faced discrimination in their careers, research carried out by Manchester University and Education Data Surveys found.

The study asked 550 BME teachers working in English state schools about how discrimination had affected their career opportunities, and concluded the majority did not believe the teaching system is inclusive.

Chris Keates, the general secretary of teachers’ union NASUWT, said: “This report reveals the true extent of the problem of racism and discrimination that, regrettably, is still all too pervasive in our schools.

“Systematic ethnic monitoring at local authority and national levels must be undertaken to enable BME teachers’ career paths to be tracked and the barriers to their progress on the leadership scale to be identified and removed.”

She added: “Institutional discrimination must not be allowed to flourish. It is robbing the schools of too many talented and dedicated teachers and potential leaders.”

Seven in ten teachers surveyed said they thought it was harder for BME teachers to secure leadership posts than other teachers, and 44 per cent said they had been discriminated against on the grounds of their ethnicity.

Nearly two thirds (65 per cent) of African teachers believed they had been discriminated against, compared to 40 per cent of Pakistani respondents and a third (34 per cent) of Indian and Caribbean teachers.

A spokesman at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said more had to be done to stop discrimination within schools.

“It is absolutely unacceptable for any teacher to be discriminated against because of their race, age, gender or religion. There’s no place for it in any workplace,” he said.

“We know there is more to do to break down the barriers stopping black and minority ethnic teachers from achieving their full potential.”

The survey found male BME teachers cite discrimination as the greatest barrier to their career advancement. The biggest obstacle to promotion for both genders was a heavy workload, followed by confidence.