'49 out of 50 new heads are white'

14th September 2001 at 01:00

Institutionalised racism is affecting British schools, writes Athalie Matthews, as Warwick Mansell reports on a disturbing survey.

FEWER than one in 50 headteachers appointed by primary schools during the past academic year was from an ethnic minority, new figures suggested this week.

In secondary schools, the situation was even more disturbing: none of 132 schools which responded to a recruitment survey reported appointing a non-white applicant.

The figures, in a survey for the National Association of Head Teachers and the Secondary Heads Association, brought immediate calls from unions for an investigation by the Government and the National College for School Leadership.

David Hart, general secretary of the NAHT, said: "This is really quite disturbing. One would have hoped that by now, by 2001, we would have seen a significant number of ethnic-minority appointments, but it's not happened."

The statistics come from an analysis, by recruitment expert and TES columnist Professor John Howson, of Education Data Services, of around half of the advertisements for heads and deputy heads in The TES from September 2000 to May 2001.

Of the 750 schools returning questionnaires on the ethnicity of their new headteacher, only 12 reported appointing a non-white person. Only three appointments outside London were of ethnic-minority candidates. In special schools, only one of 35 appointments covered by the questionnaires was non-white.

For deputy headships, the figures were only slightly more encouraging, with 2.3 per cent of primary and 1.6 per cent of secondary appointments going to non-white applicants.

Professor Howson was this week presenting a paper to the British Educational Research Association on assistant headteachers, which revealed that none of the 33 assistant head appointments by church schools was non-white.



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