Black teachers remain stuck on bottom rung

3rd November 2006 at 00:00
RACE IN EDUCATION Staff report discrimination by managers * Children combat prejudice

Black and ethnic minority teachers are still battling for equal pay and promotion, the Black Teachers' Conference in Stoke Rochford, Staffordshire, will hear this week.

In an internet survey by the Teacher Support Network and the National Union of Teachers, 61 per cent of 238 respondents reported being harassed or discriminated against by their managers.

Over half complained of being "looked over" for promotion, despite 44 per cent feeling they had equal, or better, access to training and professional development than their peers.

Forty-seven per cent had suffered racist jokes and language, and 62 per cent said that their self-esteem had suffered as a result.

"Our survey shows that overt racism is not as prevalent as less obvious forms of discrimination," said Patrick Nashe, the network's chief executive.

An NUT spokesman added: "With every other group, our data on promotion shows there isn't a case to answer. Race is the exception. It suggests some kind of subconscious institutional racism."

Black Caribbeans, who made up a third of respondents, were the most likely to respond to the survey with negative experiences.

"I have had three interviews for various positions and no feedback as to why I was unsuccessful," college lecturer Carla told the network's counsellors. "It's making me angry and it's making me start to doubt my ability."

The NUT has regularly lobbied the government to monitor the movement of ethnic minority teachers up the pay ladder.

A recent survey of 18 local authorities found that none were collecting data on how many ethnic minority teachers were receiving teaching and learning responsibility payments, under the management pay structure introduced this year. The NUT argued that local authorities have a duty to collect this information under the Race Relations Act.

Dr Uvanney Maylor of the Institute for Policy Studies in Education, who conducted research on black teachers for the London Mayor this year, said:

"Black teachers often feel like their face doesn't fit. They feel they are more likely to be offered headships in problem schools and are therefore more likely to fail.

"I spoke to one black woman who had been teaching for 18 years, and hadn't been given any responsibility," she added.

A 2002 institute survey showed that white teachers with 20 years'

experience were twice as likely to be heads or deputies as their black and ethnic minority peers.

Department for Education and Skills' figures show that around 5 per of teachers in England come from ethnic minority backgrounds, although ethnic minorities make up 9 per cent of the population.

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