A third of black and minority ethnic teachers do not feel valued at work

14th April 2017 at 00:04
racism, runnymede trust, nut, national union of teachers, schools, discrimination, stereotypes, bme, bame, black and minority ethnic, black history month
Racism is endemic in schools, a new survey reveals

A third of teachers from black, Asian and minority backgrounds do not feel supported or valued by their managers at work, a new survey reveals.

And more than one in four teachers did not feel that the schools they worked in were welcoming environments for staff of all ethnic backgrounds.

The survey of more than 1,000 teachers in England from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) was conducted by race-equality thinktank the Runnymede Trust, on behalf of the NUT teachers’ union.

It found that 28 per cent of BME primary teachers, and 35 per cent of BME secondary teachers did not feel that their line managers supported them in their career development and progression. Only 50 per cent of primary and 44 per cent of secondary teachers said that they felt supported by their line managers.

And 36 per cent of secondary and 27 per cent of primary BME teachers did not believe that their manager valued their contribution at work or recognised their strengths.


In particular, respondents interviewed by the Runnymede Trust said that racism – including assumptions about their capability, based on racial or ethnic stereotypes – were an everyday experience for BME teachers.

Others felt that they were given stereotypical responsibilities – such as oversight for Black History Month – rather than more challenging or intellectual roles.

In fact, 24 per cent of primary and 31 per cent of secondary BME teachers said that the schools they worked in were not inclusive, welcoming environments for staff of all ethnic backgrounds.

And 27 per cent primary and 37 of secondary BME teachers said that they were not comfortable being themselves at work.

'A world that is not equal'

Kevin Courtney, NUT general secretary, said: “Racism is not discussed enough in schools, even at a time when intolerance is increasing within society.

“It is urgent that we open up conversations about racism in staffrooms, in the classrooms and in the curriculum.”

Teachers were unlikely to confront such institutional racism: 32 per cent of male and 27 per cent of female teachers surveyed did not feel that staff in their schools were comfortable talking about racism or sexism.  

“Children come to school in a world that is not equal,” Mr Courtney said. “BME teachers and pupils face racism in the streets, in popular culture and in employment. Strategies to better use the potential of schools and colleges to reduce racism are urgently needed.”

And Zubaida Haque, research associate at the Runnymede Trust, said: “BME teachers are beaten down by the everyday microaggressions in the staffroom, and the low expectations and support by senior staff in their schools. This has led to BME teachers feeling undervalued, isolated and disillusioned with their careers.”

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