Opinion Former Article

Schools not doing enough to promote racial equality

Only 6% of BME teachers feel schools and colleges do enough to promote racial equality, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

More than 500 BME teachers from across the country gathered in Birmingham today (Saturday 3 December) 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 or religious prejudice seriously.

BME teachers said the number one priority for securing better progress towards racial justice in schools and colleges should be mandatory racial equality training for all teachers.

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

·         24% said they had experienced more discrimination or prejudice at work since the EU referendum result.
·         Only 9% feel schools and colleges are taking racial or religious prejudice more seriously since the EU referendum result;
·         49% believe in the last 12 months they have been treated less favourably at work, or when seeking a job or promotion because they are a BME teacher;
·         53% feel pessimistic about their future in the teaching profession;
·         70% believe that the prospects for making progress towards racial justice in the UK are worse.

And on more general issues, the poll found:

·         83% of BME teachers are angry or dissatisfied about what has happened to their pay as a teacher over the last few years;
·         52% believe the prospects for their pay are more likely to worsen;
·         The number one factor that will have the greatest bearing on whether or not BME teachers will be working as a teacher in five years’ time is the pressure of the job and workload.

To tackle the issues facing BME teachers, pupils and community, NASUWT is running a campaign to tackle racial injustice.

The NASUWT Act For Racial Justice campaign has gathered evidence and is raising awareness of the issues surrounding racial justice, with an overall goal of making informed recommendations to tackle this ongoing issue within schools and the wider community.

Dr Patrick Roach, Deputy General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

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

“Discriminatory management practices and racial injustice within the education system flourish because government fails to secure compliance.

“In fact, the Government has created a climate in which equality and the rights of workers are seen as unimportant.

“Workload and pay are racial justice issues and the Government needs to take action to address the concerns of BME teachers.

“The NASUWT and its members will continue to act for equality and for racial justice in our schools, colleges and in our communities.”

ENDS

Sarah Cull
Press and Media Officer
0121 457 6239 / 07920 711069

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