BME teachers facing endemic racism, says NASUWT…

Twice the number of black and minority ethnic (BME) teachers (31 per cent) compared to their white counterparts are reported to have experienced discrimination in the workplace in the last 12 months, according to research from NASUWT. 

The union states their ‘Annual Big Question’ survey shows “widespread inequality of treatment” and affirms that such discrimination is risking BME presence in the teacher workforce, which is already under-represented in terms of the numbers of BME pupils they teach.

79 per cent of BME teachers compared to 64 per cent of white teachers believe they are not paid at a level ‘commensurate with their skills and experiences’; 64 per cent have experienced ‘verbal abuse by pupils’ compared to 51 per cent of their white peers; 52 per cent feel that their work is not valued as professionals by the school management compared to 38 per cent of white teachers; and 64 per cent state their opinions are not valued by school management teams, compared to 53 per cent of their white peers.

Speaking at the BME Consultation Conference in Birmingham on December 3, the union’s deputy general secretary, Dr. Patrick Roach, brands the lack of BME teachers being given the opportunity to progress into leadership roles as a “scandal and a shame on our education system”: 

“The discrimination is wearing BME teachers down and putting at risk the future BME presence in the teacher workforce. There is already a stark level of under-representation of BME teachers in comparison to the BME pupils that they teach.

“We are proud as a union to have BME leaders in our membership and to have some of you here today. But it is a scandal and a shame on our education system that BME teachers are being systematically denied the opportunity to progress and to lead.

 “And, what is even more shocking is that this is the context of there being a national crisis in terms of recruiting sufficient numbers of headteachers.”

The inequality of treatment in schools is impacting the wellbeing of BME teachers outside of school, with four out of 10 BME teachers reporting poor health because of their work in the last year, compared to around two in 10 white teachers. 

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