'Colour-blind' teacher training condemned

17th July 1998 at 01:00
Government researchers have accused "colour-blind" teaching and training strategies of failing ethnic pupils.

The new findings come two weeks after Sir Herman Ouseley, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, accused the Teacher Training Agency of "sticking two fingers up at anti-racism".

The report's authors, Professors Jill Bourne and Maud Blair, are backing his calls - reported exclusively in The TES - for race and ethnicity to be made compulsory in initial teacher training.

Stephen Hillier, TTA head of corporate management, said the agency's anti-racist programmes were "crystal clear".

Professor Bourne disagreed. "I can't see it clearly. We rely on a few committed heads and trainers to promote equality, and that is not good enough."

The Government-commissioned report highlights good teaching methods in successful multi-ethnic schools. It also says that race training is "essential" for governors and should be "substantial and systematic" for heads. Ethnic monitoring should become "routine" in every school.

"Everyone accepts gender monitoring. No one says it stereotypes girls," said Professor Bourne. "We're also colour blind on ethnic teachers. We don't know how many there are in the classroom, let alone if they are getting the support they need."

A Department for Education and Employment spokesman said the findings which would be considered by the task force on raising ethnic-minority achievement.

Sir Herman welcomed the report, but said: "The evidence is already overwhelming. We don't need more reports, we need action."

"Making the Difference", the report by Jill Bourne and Maud Blair, is available from DFEE publications priced #163;4.95. Tel:0845 6022260.

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