TWICE as many teachers from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds experience discrimination in the workplace compared with their white counterparts, according to a report out today.
Morale, career aspirations, and personal lives of BME teachers are blighted by “deep-rooted and institutionalised” racial discrimination, according to findings by teachers’ union NASUWT and race-equality think tank the Runnymede Trust.
The researchers found that twice the proportion of BME teachers reported facing discrimination in the workplace (31 per cent) compared with their white counterparts, a higher percentage of BME teachers (79 per cent compared with 64 per cent) believed that they were not paid at a level matching their skills and experiences, and nearly two-thirds of BME teachers (64 per cent) had suffered verbal abuse by pupils compared with 51 per cent of their white peers.
The study also found problems in recruitment, career progression and workloads.
It identified barriers to promotion including having been educated or employed outside of Britain, lack of geographical mobility — with Muslim women particularly affected — being based in a predominantly white school, and applying for promotion at an older age than white counterparts.
Previous findings by the union showed that 70 per cent of BME teachers did not feel fairly treated when applying for jobs or promotion.
BME teachers also reported a lack of help and support from colleagues and management, and feeling overlooked.
Nearly nine out of 10 agreed with the view that schools “pay lip service” to equality for BME staff and pupils and 60 per cent reported feeling a lack of respect from schools.
In one in 10 cases, BME teachers had a relationship break down because of work, while 39 per cent said they had had to cancel holiday plans.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said: “This report calls for a national conversation about racism in the education system with all players, including government, making a commitment to delivering real change to … root out racial discrimination.”
The Runnymede Trust’s Dr Zubaida Haque said: “There is a chronic shortage of BME teachers in an education system where there is increasing diversity among its pupils.
“But the combination of an ineffective government recruitment strategy and increasing career dissatisfaction among BME teachers suggests another broken socialmobility promise for black and ethnic minority groups.
“And what kind of signal does it send … if trusted school leaders are indicating that there are different rules and opportunities for teachers from different ethnic backgrounds?”