Declaring your ethnicity is no longer as sensitive an issue as it used to be. Teachers in London were among the most willing to divulge details of their ethnicity, according to the latest data from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Almost 92 per cent of those working in inner London did, compared with 87.4 per cent of teachers employed in maintained schools across England whose ethnicity was known.
However, nationally only 1.1 per cent of teachers refused to disclose their ethnicity. The information was not obtained from more than 11 per cent of teachers. This information is much less contentious than it was a few years ago, and the publication passes generally unnoticed.
As the General Teaching Council noted recently, the number of new teachers entering the profession from every ethnic minority group increased between 2002 and 2008. However, there are still major differences in their distribution across the country. Inner London has almost one in five teachers whose ethnicity is known to be from minority groups, whereas in the whole of the North East the comparable figure is less than 1 per cent.
Even within London there are big differences between local authorities, with Brent reporting 10 per cent of its teachers are Indian by ethnicity, and 9 per cent black Caribbean, compared with Bromley where the total for both these two groups is 2 per cent. The highest total for teachers of Indian ethnicity was in Leicester, and for black Caribbean in Haringey
John Howson is a director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.