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to wonder about ethnic diversity in teachers?

(105 Posts)
manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 18:45:04

I teach in a school where 100% of the staff are caucasian (but then so are approx 90% of the children, it's a very very white area).

But I went on a course today in London and there were 100 teachers there, all of whom were white. At least 2/3rds were from schools in the London area so I would have expected diversity.

As someone with mixed race children I do sometimes worry about this. Well not worry exactly, it probably doesn't matter in the slightest. But I think about it. I used to believe that the only correct way forward was total colour blin-ness but now I'm not so sure. Should we actually be encouraging more diversity in careers such as teaching rather than just taking whatever happens as being ok?

Or have I got a skewed view on things and there are actually loads of non white teachers?

And AIBU to think it might even matter?

ScottyDoc Thu 14-Feb-13 18:49:28

My dh is North african and a teacher. There are actually a ton of ethnic teachers, just depends what area you are in. We are south London. West London and north London may be a bit more Caucasian based, same as places such as Sussex.

ScottyDoc Thu 14-Feb-13 18:50:09

Yanbu , I worry about my mixed race kids too but not really in career terms.

Pozzled Thu 14-Feb-13 18:56:18

One of the things I reallyike about the school I teach at is the diversity. Both pupils and staff come from a wide range of backgrounds and religions and speak a wide range of languages. I do think it's important in terms of role models and exposing all children to different cultures. However, I wouldn't ever want to see a situation where a weaker candidate gets the job in order to fill a quota. I guess we just need to keep encouraging people from all backgrounds to consider teaching.

cheshiresmile Thu 14-Feb-13 18:58:17

I am in Hackney and I saw very few minority ethnic teachers when I visited a ton of secondary schools last year (visited all the schools in Hackney plus a few in neighbouring boroughs). Definitely no representative of our borough!

We are non-white (from an SE Asian background, don't want to be too specific) and I've never seen any teachers from our country at all, although there's quite a large community in London. I think it's partly self-selecting though - most of my friends/relatives from my country are horrified at the idea of teaching London teenagers!

I don't think it bothers me too much for my own dc though. It would be nice to have more diversity, but I don't think it's really crucial.

FellatioNels0n Thu 14-Feb-13 18:59:07

I wouldn't worry about it. I have known plenty of BME teachers, even though my children and I have all gone to school in largely white areas.
You have to remember that you cannot expect teachers to have any greater a BME representation than the percentage of BME people in the population as a whole.

If you want to feel a bit happier about BME represention just turn on the TV and watch local and national news programmes, where BME people are hugely over represented. Swings, roundabouts and all that.

EcoLady Thu 14-Feb-13 19:11:20

The overwhelming majority of primary teachers are middle class, white and female... including me. We do our best to teach ALL of our pupils.

albertcamus Thu 14-Feb-13 19:23:54

In my 24 years' teaching experience I have worked in:

* FE in a racially-diverse middle-class town : no problems, nobody saw colour, the diversity was great

* a comp just North of London with equally diverse catchment, if not more so as many travellers were there too, again no problems, everyone got along fine

* a comp near the A10 'white flight' area which featured (10 years ago) mainly white WC kids - racism was rife, unchallenged, institutional and shockingly tolerated. A colleague from Zimbabwe was asked by a 'teacher' of 25 years' experience in this school: 'Why are you here ? We don't need you' sad

* a comp in the poorest area of a WC town where 80% of the kids are white WC BUT they look up to, get on with and admire the BME students & staff

my experience in the school where racism was embedded horrified me (I couldn't wait to get out of the place), and I can understand your concerns for your own children ... I agree that teaching continues to feature an over-representation of white MC women, but there are so many reasons for this, I can't see the situation improving drastically in the forseeable future sad

manicinsomniac Thu 14-Feb-13 19:36:25

it's interesting that a couple of people have mentioned over representation of women too. I noticed that when training but never since. I work in an independent school though so maybe that makes a difference.

Good to hear that there's some variation out there in some places at least.

EcoLady Thu 14-Feb-13 20:03:00

Official stats here Click on the pdf link on the right hand side.

93.6% of all teachers are white.
97.6% of Heads are white.
91.5% of TAs are white.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 20:06:34

It would be interesting to have the same survey results for professions that are higher status, such as doctors and dentists. We can encourage diversity as much as we like, in the same way that we've been trying to entice men into the profession for decades.
But you can't force people to enter a career they have no desire to.

sherazade Thu 14-Feb-13 20:08:29

I am a qualified primary school teacher. On my teacher training course for primary education, out of 120 of us, around 20 were male and 119 of us white. This is in a large culturally diverse city (not London).

In the secondary department there were trainees of many different ethnicities.
Sadly, primary teaching seems to be the domain of white women alone.
I am unsure why.

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 14-Feb-13 20:11:28

Low status.
Has been for a long time. It's seen as a combination of child-minding and playing that anyone can do with a bit of brains.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 14-Feb-13 20:16:20

Wow, those stats are quite shocking EcoLady. I wouldn't have guessed it was that high.

montmartre Thu 14-Feb-13 20:21:21

The school I work in has greater ethnic diversity in the staff than in the pupils (outer-city area). I think this is a good thing actually, because the rest of our city is very diverse, and I find it strange sometimes walking round such a 'white' environment. The school I was last in had 100% white UK staff, but the pupils were very diverse (40-50% BME, many many different backgrounds)... it was Specialist provision though, so I don't know if that had some bearing on it.

ninah Thu 14-Feb-13 20:24:42

there's a fair lack of social diversity in general ime

LaurieFairyCake Thu 14-Feb-13 20:26:35

85.67% of British people are white British though.

It's no surprise that a slightly higher percentage than the average person in the population is a professional surely confused and that they would be white.

LahleeMooloo Thu 14-Feb-13 20:53:22

I don't believe people should be hired specifically because they are an ethnic minority however, to fulfil quotas. People should only ever be hired on merit, not colour, whether it favours majority or minority ethnicities.

mrsbunnylove Thu 14-Feb-13 21:35:58

we're a mixed bunch in the high school where i work.

crazynanna Thu 14-Feb-13 21:43:56

DD's Secondary schhol Headteacher (north London school) is black/british male of Carribean decent. There is an African male Economic Studies teacher, and I think two Asian female a good mix

Hesterton Thu 14-Feb-13 21:54:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:55:48

A fair number of black teachers in my boys secondary school. Quite a few of which are senior/very senior and male.

Im glad.

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 21:58:27

ive been thinking about this lately. Im interested because i have mR children

I notice someone on the thread said you shouldnt employ BME teachers to fill quotas; teachers should be employed on merit

I'm not totally sure i agree. If you are talking about a school where a large percentage are black males of carribean descent (the lowest preforming group academically) might it be advantageous to hire a black male teacher of carribean descent even if that teacher isnt as good as another candidtae who is white british female? (obviously this wouldnt apply if you are talking about a totally shit teacher!)

Kids do need role models and they do need to see themselves reflected in the world around them

Our primary school has 2 male white teachers, 2 MR female teachers, 2 MR TAs (1 male, 1 female) 2 Indian female teachers, 2 Indian female TAs, 2 black male TAs (1 African and 1 Carribean descent I think), 3 African Woman Play Ground Supervisors and 1 black male playground supervisors. Ive volunteered in the school...IMO the diversity is really important in engaging the kids...especially those with SEN etc...but also they are all really good at their not a teacher....i dont know what the balance is

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:58:28

Also lots of support/admin staff who are black too.

AmberLeaf Thu 14-Feb-13 21:59:22

Agree BigAudio

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