FEAR OF racial abuse prevents teachers from ethnic minorities from applying for jobs in areas with low ethnic populations, government-funded researchers report.
The researchers, from Cambridge university, spoke to 49 teachers from Afro Caribbean and Asian backgrounds in six local authorities in London, the West Midlands and the North West. Most of them claimed that they chose to teach out of a desire to be a role model for pupils from similar backgrounds.
The report, Minority Ethnic Teachers' Professional Experiences, says: "Most felt that wider representation of minority ethnic groups was needed to support pupil learning and to encourage greater participation in the education system from their communities."
Few teachers reported encountering racism when applying for posts in inner city and urban areas. But fear of racial abuse from other staff and local communities stopped most from applying for jobs in areas with few or no ethnic minority people.
The report said: "The fact that these teachers felt they needed to avoid certain areas raises questions about attitudes in the teaching profession as a whole."
Teachers who had trained and qualified abroad reported perceived racist recruitment practices. Many claimed they were offered only supply jobs, so that schools could use their expertise at minimal cost. They felt they were being denied permanent jobs and professional development opportunities.
Others said the demands of the curriculum prevented them from catering to the needs of minority pupils as much as they might like.
The researchers felt the teachers' concerns merited the immediate attention of the Government.
* www.dfes.gov.ukresearch (see Programme of Research)