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EXCL Schools could be forced to recruit more ethnic minority teachers if Labour wins power

2 min read

Schools could be forced to employ more black and ethnic minority teachers if Labour wins the next election, Angela Rayner has revealed.

The Shadow Education Secretary said it was wrong that "the only people we see in schools that are black or ethnic minority are the cleaners".

She said she was "sick of soft targets", suggesting that firm quotas could be brought in by a Labour government.

Just 13% of state school teachers are from a BME background, compared to 27% of pupils, according to research by the NASUWT teaching union.

Asked at a fringe event at the Labour conference if current school recruitment policies were helping to promote equality, Ms Rayner said: "In my usual blunt Northern way, no. At this moment they are not.

“If the only people we see in schools that are black or ethnic minority are the cleaners… then we are perpetuating the problems we have in our communities."

She said public institutions should "look more like wider society".

Ms Rayner said: "I am sick of soft targets. I am all for hard targets, and if it means we have to force quotas, then I am an advocate for that." 

According to the NASUWT, some 68,000 teachers from BME backgrounds must be recruited to reflect the proportion of ethnic minority pupils in English state schools.

The union said ethnic minority teachers "face discrimination and prejudice when applying for jobs".

A Department for Education spokesperson said in July: "There has been a steady increase in the proportion of minority ethnic groups starting teacher training and in the teaching profession in recent years.

"We also provide a range of support to teachers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds such as the Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund. 

"This fund supports schools to increase the representation of BME teachers in senior leadership roles as well as providing coaching and mentoring for BME teachers."

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