Commenting on a new study by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) released today (Weds 18 May), in partnership with education charities Ambition Institute and Teach First, looking at ethnic disparities in the teacher workforce, Natalie Arnett, senior equalities officer for school leaders’ union NAHT, said:
“The value of a diverse workforce for pupils, staff and the wider community is well-known; positive role models from a wide range of backgrounds and ethnicities helps to break down stereotypes and prejudice, and encourages children to broaden their horizons and ambitions and fulfil their educational potential.
“However, we know that our profession is not yet representative of the communities we serve, and that this is a particular issue at senior leadership level.
“There has been a welcome improvement in discussing the barriers people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds face, including in education. But there is still much more work to be done. Research like this is important in facilitating this conversation further, helping us understand where the barriers are – though not why.
“We would encourage this research to be considered alongside qualitative research and lived experiences, such as our ‘You Are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality’ book, which shares the personal experiences of 14 NAHT members from Asian, African, Caribbean and multiple backgrounds, and their journey into leadership.
“NAHT is committed to playing its part, and alongside other key organisations working in the sector, will shortly be releasing an updated ‘statement of action’, outlining our commitments to help furthering equality, diversity and inclusion in education.
“Whilst a sector-wide approach is essential if we are to see true progress in this area, this really must be matched by effective support from Government. If the Department for Education is serious about improving recruitment and retention of educational professionals from a diverse range of backgrounds, then it is vital that this is embedded across all facets of its work, and is backed by appropriate funding.”
First published 18 May 2022