Survey indicates `endemic culture of institutional racism’ in English schools

Almost half the teachers talked to alleged discrimination

9th November 2009: Even though the ethnic minorities constitute 10.1 per cent England’s population, they make up just about 1 per cent of the head teachers in primary and secondary schools.

The data gathered during a research reveals as a result of widespread culture of institutional racism in England’s schools, very few black and ethnic minority teachers are made head teachers each year.

For reaching the conclusions, the researchers at Manchester University and analysts at Education Data Surveys talked to 556 state school teachers from ethnic minorities. They teachers were asked what helped or prevented them from being promoted and whether they faced discrimination.

The study `The leadership aspirations and careers of black and minority ethnic teachers’ was commissioned by a training college for aspiring head teachers – the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services – and teaching union Nasuwt.

The survey concluded the findings were indicative of an endemic culture of institutional racism.

Just a little less than half, at 44 per cent, claimed they were suffering from discrimination as a result of their ethnicity. As many as 70 per cent said compared to the white teachers, it was harder for teachers from ethnic minorities to become head teachers.

Discrimination was cited by the male teachers as the top barrier in their way of becoming a head. Women teachers, on the other hand, described it as the sixth biggest barrier. They, rather, cited workload, self confidence and family responsibilities as the most significant obstacles.

The allegations of discrimination were more pronounced among African teachers. Almost two-thirds of African teachers said they faced discrimination, compared with two-fifths of Pakistani teachers and a third of Indian and Caribbean teachers.

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