The Labour Party has pledged to carry out a "wide-ranging review" into the under-representation of black, Asian and minority-ethnic (BAME) teachers in schools.
Its "Race and Faith Manifesto", launched today, will also include the creation of an Emancipation Educational Trust aimed at ensuring historical injustice, colonialism and role of the British Empire is taught in the national curriculum.
The party says that, if elected, it will launch the review into BAME teachers in schools within the first month of government, and develop a "comprehensive strategy to recruit and retain BAME teachers".
Mary Bousted, joint-general secretary of the NEU teaching union, called the plans to attract BAME teachers “exciting”.
She said: “Frankly, without a national focus, progress isn’t happening fast enough. We have to talk about and tackle racism much more openly through public policy if we are going to tackle the disparities for black children.
“Tackling the under-representation of BAME teachers is one very important step in addressing the issue of racism in society. The NEU welcomes the proposal for a new Emancipation Educational Trust. All young people benefit from learning about how human rights were won and about the struggle against colonialism and racial injustice.”
Labour says the shortage of black teachers is “a national issue” and that representation is in schools still not in line with British society.
It highlighted government statistics showing that black African teachers made up only 1.3 per cent of male teachers and 0.7 per cent of female teachers. Black Africans make up 1.9 per cent of the working age population, according to figures published last year.
In contrast, 78.5 per cent of the working-age population, and 86.2 per cent of teachers, are white British.