Skip to Content

A school in the London borough of Westminster

England needs 68 000 black and ethnic teachers ‘to reflect child population’

As a result of population change in England, trade unions are calling for the replacement of English teachers with BME teachers, otherwise known as black and minority ethnic teachers.

Published: July 17, 2017, 11:43 am

    One extreme example of the “imbalance” is in the London borough of Westminster where there are only 37,9% of BME teachers while a full 85% of pupils belong to ethnic minority groups.

    The teachers’ union NASUWT is calling for an additional 68 000 BME teachers “to reflect England’s school population”. According to the union, only 13% of teachers in government schools “come from a BME background, compared to 27% of pupils”.

    NASUWT has also played the race card by stating that “ethnic minority teachers face discrimination and prejudice when applying for jobs”. The English Department of Education (DfE) has defended itself against this charge by showing that 68 000 government teachers out of 510 000 are already BME (black and minority ethnic). But for teachers to reflect the ethnic composition of schools, the number of BME teachers would have to double.

    One reason being advanced for the lack of BME teachers is that ethnic minorities in England prefer other professions such as pharmacy or medicine to teaching.

    One teacher from Leeds, Tayyab Ditta, told the BBC in an interview: “Teaching was never on my radar when I was younger. A lack of BME teachers meant I had no role models so I never envisaged becoming a teacher. I remember seeing people from my community who’d become successful doctors or engineers but I never saw someone who was a teacher and that is a barrier we need to break down.”

    The profession of pharmacist in Britain is already dominated by BME candidates. In 2012, a report by the General Pharmaceutical Council in Britain found that “there had been a five per cent increase in the number of pharmacists from a black or minority ethnic background on the register between 2010 and 2011, from 34 per cent to 39 per cent”.

    The Pharmaceutical Council also found that up to 70 percent of new entrants to the profession were BME:

    “Pharmacists from Asian backgrounds now represent over a quarter of pharmacists (27 per cent), with pharmacists from black, Chinese, and other minority ethnic communities representing a further 12 per cent. This represents the percentage of pharmacists for whom information on ethnic group is available. Ethnicity data is not available for 11.6% of pharmacists on the register. This upward trend is likely to continue, as just under 70 per cent of new entrants to the register in 2011 were from a black or minority ethnic background.”

    Janet Sheriff is the only BME secondary school head teacher in Leeds, an area which is already 30% multicultural. She wants more BME teachers to be appointed as a matter of urgency, saying there is “an unconscious bias towards white candidates:

    “This is an enormous challenge for the whole education system. It’s vitally important that as our communities become more multicultural our schools reflect the areas where our children grow up.

    “I do feel that when schools appoint teachers, there is an unconscious bias where white teachers are often the preferred candidate.”

    Official figures show that the proportion of BME teachers in England has only been rising slowly, from 11,6% in 2012, to 13,4% in 2016 (see graph below).

    Percentage of BME teachers in England’s schools. Source: Dept. of Education.

    However, despite the steady increase in BME teachers, the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) expressed its outrage in a report and claimed that such teachers “still faced deep-rooted, endemic and institutional racism”.

    Chris Keates, general secretary of the NASUWT, complained: “BME teachers are, on average, paid less than their peers, commonly face discrimination and prejudice when applying for jobs.

    “Schools and pupils are losing out on the talents and skills of BME teachers who are unable to advance their careers or who opt for a different profession due to the barriers being placed in their way. We cannot afford to continue to let this happen.”

    Based on the official data, only a single town, Halton, Cheshire, had a slightly higher proportion of BME teachers (4,7%) than pupils (4,5%).

    In the rest of the English boroughs, BME teachers are still underrepresented, compared to the percentages of pupils, as the graph underneath shows.

    % of BME pupils % of BME teachers

    Imbalances in BME pupils and teachers
    Local authorities in England 2016

    A spokesperson for the DfE said: “There has been a steady increase in the proportion of minority ethnic groups starting teacher training and in the teaching profession in recent years.

    “We also provide a range of support to teachers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds such as the Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund. This fund supports schools to increase the representation of BME teachers in senior leadership roles as well as providing coaching and mentoring for BME teachers.”

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Europe

    Another gruesome murder shocks Germany

    A German woman, Sophia Lösche went missing on the 14th of June after she got in a truck while attempting to hitchhike from Leipzig to Amberg in Bavaria, according to investigators. Her body was found on Thursday evening near a petrol station just outside the Spanish city of Bilbao.

    World Cup is destroying UK’s anti-Russian propaganda

    The World Cup in Russia is turning out to be a stunning success and a PR disaster for Britain's anti-Russian cohorts. Even BBC sports journalists and pundits are ignoring propaganda narratives and going off-message to enthuse about everything Russian, especially the welcome they are receiving.

    Migrant accused of teen’s murder boasted about everything being free

    Ali B, the alleged murderer of a German teen, as well as his family raved to relatives back in Iraq that they would not have to work and that they would be given free money by the state.

    Matteo Salvini. Photo: matteoslavini.it

    Salvini calls for Roma census as top Vatican official heads for Bilderberg

    Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Monday announced the intention of holding a special census of Roma people in Italy with the intention of closing all illegal Roma camps in the country.

    Head of German job centre caught rioting with extremists

    WuppertalThe German state of North Rhine-Westphalia is already well-stocked with leftists. But the chief of an urban job center has taken his ideology to the next level.

    Salvini blocks two more NGO vessels from entering Italian ports

    RomeOn Saturday Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini warned that another two migrant rescue vessels arriving from the Libyan coast would not be allowed to dock with their "human cargo" at an Italian port.

    Dutch teens are drinking themselves into a coma

    Dutch teenagers drinking themselves to the point of needing to be hospitalised rose again last year, the NRC said on Friday.

    Almost half of Syrian migrants suffer from mental illness Dutch study shows

    More than 40 percent of Syrian asylum applicants in the Netherlands have psychological problems like depression and anxiety or worse, according to a study by the Dutch social and cultural planning office SCP.

    Counter-terrorism gives green light to Wilders’ Mohammad cartoon contest

    Dutch PVV leader Geert Wilders has been given the green light to organise a Mohammed cartoon competition in the Dutch House of Representatives.

    Another teenage girl stabbed to death in Germany

    A Turkish migrant has turned himself in to German police, after the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl in the German town of Viersen, near Düsseldorf.

    Go to archive