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?

LahleeMooloo Thu 14-Feb-13 22:05:13

No I completely disagree bigaudio, selection should never be on the basis of the colour of someone's skin. It is never justifiable and is a slippery slope.

kim147 Thu 14-Feb-13 22:09:24

In our predominantly Asian / Afro Caribbean school, all the teachers are white. Most are female. And quite young.

Our TAs are predominantly Asian and Afro - Caribbean as are other support staff in the school.

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:11:53

lahlee regardless of whether you think it is correct or not, to hire someone on the basis of their ethnicity...do you think BME children respond better to someone of their own ethnicity? As a generalisation, do Afro-carribean boys do more learning if their teacher is a black carribean man? And does having a black male teacher raise their aspirations in life?

BigAudioDynamite Thu 14-Feb-13 22:13:20

and what about as 121 teachers/TAs lahlee? ...(or anyone?)

Theresalwaysone Thu 14-Feb-13 22:18:40

Agree with BigAudio totally! As a blanket statement selection according to race is never a good idea BUT her examples clearly show otherwise... Unquestionably IMO!

Blessyou Thu 14-Feb-13 23:46:53

For comparison as suggested by The NebulousBuljoom
Dentists in 2000 : 14% BME and rising

Doctors in 2003 : 37%

Blessyou Thu 14-Feb-13 23:48:19

Sorry TheNebulousBoojum

SparklyAntlersInMyDecorating Thu 14-Feb-13 23:51:15

The other lowest performing group academically? White working class boys.

They need role models around them; as do all young people though.

You should never employ on the basis of ethnicity or gender in an ideal world; I have seen it happen however.

Moominsarehippos Thu 14-Feb-13 23:53:42

Our teachers are mainly white. DS is mixed and my BIL/SIL are both teachers.

I'd be happier seeing more male teachers than I am concerned about their ethnic origins tbh.

GW297 Thu 14-Feb-13 23:58:47

Virtually all the teachers I have ever worked with are white British, middle class females too. I don't think YABU at all. I agree that in an ideal world school staff should comprise of males and teachers from a range of different ages and heritages. I think about this often.

MyPetMonsterAndMe Fri 15-Feb-13 00:00:34

I was actually thinking about this the other day. I am a teacher at an independent school in Canada. We have students from all around the world (boarding school) but every single member of staff is white. I would say there is a pretty even male:female ratio though, perhaps more males. The school is in an area that is not very ethnically diverse, which may explain part of this because on my teaching course this was not the case at all. There were males and females of many different ethnic origins.

thegreylady Fri 15-Feb-13 00:17:08

What does BME stand for please?

TotallyBS Fri 15-Feb-13 00:28:36

I would like the police and the judiciary to be more diverse. Same with politics. But I can't say that I care that much when it comes to teachers. I mean ,what difference what colour your maths teacher is?

manicinsomniac Fri 15-Feb-13 00:38:09

bigaudio your school sounds like a perfect mix. ANd I agree that in the case you cited positive discrimination would be a good thing - because it would be for the benefit of children not the adults concerned.

nailak Fri 15-Feb-13 00:49:46

in my dcs schools there is a lot of diversity in the teachers, lots of asian staff particularly, less black but I would say asian and white are same ratio

WorraLiberty Fri 15-Feb-13 01:03:59

Very diverse here in East London/Essex.

Loads of Australian, Canadian, South African, Irish, Welsh, Asian, African teachers during my 17 years as a 'School Mum'.

complexnumber Fri 15-Feb-13 05:59:27

93.6% of all teachers are white. Ecolady

Thanks for the link, I love a big bunch of statistics. It might be worth pointing out that 85.9% of teachers are White British , which ties in quite well with LaurieFairyCake's observation:

85.67% of British people are white British though.

So all is well on the White British/Others ratio.

(I have not looked to see if the ratios for other ethnicites are as you would expect them.)

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:20:58

I was more asking a question, than making a statement smile

From what I have seen, the more challenging black boys respond really well to the black male memberrs if staff. The higher acheiving ones response well to anyone regardless. I'm interested to hear what others experiences are....

I don't think the "I think we should never recruit based in skin colour' is relevant. Getting as many kids as possible as good an education as possible should be the deciding factor

I hear what people are saying about the percentage if white British teachers being equal to the population ratio.....but does this account for the ethnic mix on a local level....Those statistical don't give a detailed enough picture

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:22:30

Black Minority Ethnic ecolady

Isityouorme Fri 15-Feb-13 06:29:43

You can't give jobs to people based on the colour of their skin, regardless of it being police or reaching. It is discrimination.

sashh Fri 15-Feb-13 06:30:07

Well I can recommend a college in Birmingham, in fact a particular campus with a diverse mix of staff and pupils. In fact teaching there I was often the only white person in the room.

But how much does it matter? I know if you only ever see white teachers it might not occur to you that you can be a teacher if you are not white but isn't that why teachers are taught to value diversity and actively celebrate it?

I've shocked quite a few students by knowing a tiny bit about their culture or religion.

Back to that college I mentioned, on their equality and diversity day, you could have Chinese characters applied as henna tattoos by a white student. Or learn to play steel drums from an Asian student. And no one batted an eye lid.

All students, regardless of colour/background could swear in at least two languages.

These were a group of 16-19 year olds who were happy with diversity. They didn't see anything as not them or off limits because their friends didn't.

It did throw up a few interesting discussions such as, 'Miss, is it racist to say that mixed race people are the best looking?'.

aamia Fri 15-Feb-13 06:39:41

How would you fix this though? Asian families and most men do not see teaching as a career that earns enough, or has a high enough social status. It is a vocation, and a wage that you would struggle to bring up a family on if you wanted a mortgage etc. If people do not train, they cannot be employed.

AuntLucyInPeru Fri 15-Feb-13 06:43:51

I agree, of 100 staff members at DS school, only the cook is black. The school is not especially culturally diverse, but is located in central London so recruiting a more diverse selection of teachers surely couldn't be that hard. I haven't yet found the right forum to mention this to the school...

HollyBerryBush Fri 15-Feb-13 06:51:18

I don't see how you can encourage people to take up a profession by racial background.

Using a sterotype, there are a few asian teachers but a lot more asian doctors. Why anyone would want to teach on a pittance when they can have far more career progression and earning power as a doctor is beyond me.

I work in a fairly diverse school, I'd guess 20-25% are West African pupils. That isn't reflected in the teaching staff. The ones that are employed are heavily accented, cannot control the bottom sets (mainly white boys) and require a lot of LSA assistance to keep control of the lesson.

Mind you teaching is a predominantly white female profession. All our SLT are white female. I generally don't go for the recruiting by gender thing either but we could do with some strong male candidates next time round.

BigAudioDynamite Fri 15-Feb-13 06:58:27

It is possible to target different candidates with recruitment campaigns/sweeps I believe

I'm on a pre PGCE course and exactly 50% of us are male....its for secondary. I think its is considered a decent enough wage. Obviously not if you have the capacity to go into medicine

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