It's held me back at every level, says head

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Avtar Singh Mangat has battled against racism for 28 years to fulfil his ambitions in education.

The Asian headteacher fought against strong opposition from parents and teachers to secure his position at Wilkes Green junior in Birmingham 15 years ago.

He said: "I could write a book about myexperiences of racism. It has held me back at every level.

"People wanted to test me and would not accept my rules. I was rejected from at least half the jobs I applied for because of who I am rather than my skills. Whenever people consider applications for a job they have preconceptions of me, and my turban also affects their first impression."

Mr Mangat, who has a postgraduate teaching qualification and has been awarded an MBE, believes leadership courses will encourage a change in attitude.

He said: "Race relations acts are one way to change attitudes but you also need to equip people to cope with circumstances."

Management, 26

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