Is our school sys­tem racist?

TES (Times Education Supplement) - - INSIGHT -

A 2015 study by the Ark acad­emy chain found there were only 39 black head­teach­ers across more than 3,000 sec­ondary schools in Eng­land – rep­re­sent­ing less than 1.1 per cent of the to­tal, de­spite black or mixed-race peo­ple mak­ing up 4.5 per cent of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion of Eng­land and Wales.

In the same year, an NUT teach­ing union sur­vey raised con­cerns about pay in­creases given to eth­nic mi­nor­ity teach­ers un­der per­for­mance-re­lated pay.

It found that 28 per cent of those told of their pay de­ci­sion had been de­nied an in­crease. This rose to 40 and 34 per cent among Asian and black teach­ers re­spec­tively.

And re­search by the Cen­tre for Re­search in Race and Ed­u­ca­tion (CRRE) at the Univer­sity of Birm­ing­ham on school ex­clu­sions found that, com­pared to their white peers, the per­ma­nent ex­clu­sion rate of black Caribbean pupils has re­mained three to four times that of their white peers over an 18-year pe­riod.

David Gill­born, of the CRRE, be­lieves racial bias in schools ex­tends to teach­ers’ ex­pec­ta­tions and which sets pupils are put in.

For him, such racial bias is un­con­scious, and not enough is be­ing done to raise aware­ness of it. “It would be great if teacher ed­u­ca­tion took race in­equal­ity se­ri­ously. It does not,” he adds.

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