'Institutional racism' claim as figures show 97% of heads are white

The education system could be overlooking some of its most talented potential leaders because of “institutional racism” that holds black and ethnic minority (BME) teachers back, an academy trust chief executive has said.

David Hermitt, executive principal of Congleton High School in Cheshire and chief executive of Congleton Multi-Academy Trust, told TES that government data revealed an “appalling” shortage of BME teachers in the most senior jobs. 

According to the figures, 97.3 per cent of headteachers at state schools in England are white. Just 0.7 per cent of school leaders are from an Indian background and 0.6 per cent are from a black Caribbean background.

Mr Hermitt, who works with the National College for ­Teaching and Leadership on schemes to increase the number of BME teachers and encourage them to move up the career ladder, said he did not think schools were being “deliberately racist”. 

However, he added: “Institutional racism is where the structures and the systems and everything around how an institution works make it more difficult for people from certain ethnic backgrounds to succeed. The statistics suggest it is more widespread than we’d like.” 

To read the full story, get the 10 April edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.

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