NASUWT: Nearly half BME teachers still discriminated against at work

Nearly half of black and minority ethnic (BME) teachers have been held back in their careers because of racial discrimination, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, heard today.

Teachers from across the country met today in Birmingham for the NASUWT’s annual Black and Minority Ethnic Teachers’ Conference; the largest such gathering of its kind in the UK and the biggest yet.

Participants took part in a real-time electronic poll which explored their views on a series of issues relating to their profession:

Among the results were:
over three quarters of BME teachers considered themselves to be ambitious, yet stated they are being held back by racial discrimination, and the attitude of senior colleagues;
nearly two-thirds (62%) of BME teachers felt their school or college was not seriously committed to addressing their professional development needs and aspirations;
63%  of BME teachers said their employers were not committed to ensuring their mental and physical wellbeing at work, with workload cited as the single most negative factor impacting on their wellbeing;
the vast majority of BME teachers felt the Government does not respect and value teachers and does not understand the day to day realities of teaching (99%);
three quarters of BME teachers said they were not confident that their headteacher will make professional and fair decisions regarding their future pay.
Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, who addressed the conference, said:

“BME teachers have told us that racial discrimination is an endemic feature of the education system.

“Holding back the potential and talent of teachers on grounds of their race or colour is damaging the prospects of pupils.

“The Coalition Government’s reforms to the teachers’ pay system, which give more freedoms to individual schools to determine teachers’ pay, has been overwhelmingly rejected by BME teachers who fear it will exacerbate discrimination against BME teachers.

“All of the issues raised today will be taken forward by the NASUWT as we continue to press the government for a fair national framework of pay and conditions for all teachers.”