Race discrimination continuing to blight our schools

The treatment of BME teachers in the workplace has not improved over the last decade and the work and contribution of BME teachers is not generally recognised and valued by schools, a conference organised by the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has heard.

Hundreds of BME teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today for the NASUWT Annual BME Teachers’ Consultation Conference to discuss the challenges facing them and to engage in professional development workshops.

The conference, which is the largest BME teachers’ conference in Europe, heard concerns about discrimination and the failure of schools to take racial prejudice seriously.

A real-time electronic poll of BME teachers attending the seminar found that:

78% do not think the work and contribution of BME teachers is recognised and valued by schools;
58% do not think treatment of BME teachers has improved in the last decade;
Only 36% feel outcomes for BME pupils have improved in the last decade;
98% feel that racism continues to be a serious problem in the UK today;
53% do not see themselves still being in the teaching profession in the next five years, with 31% saying they are planning to change career and the rest saying they plan to retire or take a break from the profession.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, who addressed the conference, said:

“The experiences shared by BME teachers today demonstrate that discrimination and unfair treatment of BME teachers and pupils is unfortunately still rife.

“All of the NASUWT’s own research shows the BME teachers face greater barriers and discrimination in gaining promotion and pay progression than the generality of teachers and that overt and covert instances of racism are a daily reality for too many BME teachers.

“The NASUWT is continuing to support its members in challenging these injustices, but much more action is needed by Government to affect the systemic change which is needed to ensure that no pupil or teacher is held back because of their ethnicity or faith.

“Through the NASUWT’s Act for Racial Justice campaign, we will continue to fight all forms of racial discrimination and promote the interests of all BME teachers and pupils.”