How many black and ethnic minority teachers are there?
Just 1.7 per cent are black, 2.6 per cent are Asian, and 0.8 per cent are mixed race, according to the latest figures from the Department for Children, Schools and Families for local authority schools in England; 94.3 per cent are white.
Which areas do they teach in?
The region with the highest proportion is London, where 11 per cent of teachers are black, 7.4 per cent are Asian, 2.5 per cent are mixed race, and 1 per cent are from another ethnic group.
In contrast, in the North East 0.4 per cent of teachers are Asian, 0.2 per cent are mixed race and 0.1 per cent are black.
So how does it compare with the pupil population?
Not very closely at all - 21.9 per cent of primary pupils in England and 17.7 per cent of secondary pupils come from an ethnic minority group.
What can attract people from ethnic minorities into teaching?
Often, the same things as anyone else. But research last year found that one of the main reasons why people from ethnic minorities chose to go into teaching was to serve their community, and predominantly, but not exclusively, to present themselves as role models for pupils from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- Vijay Desai, 34, a newly qualified teacher at Wilkes Green Junior School in Birmingham, moved into teaching from a career in IT.
"When I was at primary school, there was one ethnic teacher," he said. "That was something I was conscious of.
"You felt you were under-represented. I thought primary teaching meant that I could become a role model, and I really enjoy it."
To what extent can it be said that discrimination exists?
An internet survey carried out by the Teacher Support Network and the National Union of Teachers in 2006 found that 61 per cent of 238 respondents reported being harassed or discriminated against by their managers.
Why else might the numbers be low?
Trainees from ethnic minority backgrounds are nearly twice as likely to fail to complete initial teacher training than others.
How about promotion prospects?
A survey of teachers carried out by the Institute for Policy Studies in Education at London Metropolitan University found that white teachers with 15 to 20 years' experience were twice as likely to be heads or deputies as their black or ethnic minority peers.
WORDS OF ADVICE ON DISCRIMINATION
Avtar Singh Mangat has been head of Wilkes Green Junior School in Birmingham since 1988.
He said: "I come across a lot of teachers who come here for advice. The number of teachers with ethnic minority backgrounds who are seeking supply teaching makes you wonder why it is that they are not getting jobs.
"Last year, I had four teachers from different schools come to me asking for advice about their headteachers and performance management procedures.
"I do feel on occasion people find it difficult to create time to listen to people. It would be naive to say there is no discrimination. It's like a virus that mutates - it may change form but the effect is still the same."