New Diversity Data Emphasises We Must Get It Right For Current BAME Educators

Created on: 24 Apr 2023

The EIS welcomes the third publication of the Diversity in Teaching Profession Scotland Annual Data Report, but is disappointed that the national target of 4% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Teachers by 2030 “remains highly ambitious”, highlighting the imperative for further, and locally embedded action.

The EIS is pleased that the data report points to a decrease in the number of teachers, ITE entrants and qualifiers who choose ‘unknown’ as their ethnicity in the Teacher Census. Capturing accurate data is essential to monitor progress and inform strategies in working towards a more diverse profession.

As an active participant in the Scottish Government Anti-Racism in Education Programme (AREP), the EIS welcomes recent national initiatives that demonstrate a shared commitment to achieving greater diversity across the Education sector.

In particular, the Building Racial Literacy Programme which empowers educators to implement anti-racism in their everyday practice, the new Anti-Racism in ITE Framework and the appointment of a GTCS National Race Diversity Lead.

Commenting EIS General Secretary Andrea Bradley said, “The success of recent national initiatives will depend upon the support, time and resources given to teachers and schools to engage with the relevant learning, and to properly embed the changes required.”

She continued, “In the context of a cost-of-living crisis, with budget cuts adding to the growing pressures on Education staff, more must be done to ensure change is positively experienced by BAME staff already in the profession – many who share, within the EIS’s own BAME Network, that they continue to experience barriers at work, including in relation to career progression. There are still less than 1% BAME workers in promoted posts.”

The EIS is concerned that the data shows a lower proportion of BAME probationers securing employment after completing their probationary year. Only 23% of the 2021/22 cohort of BAME Secondary probationers found employment in their first year of teaching, compared to 50% of the probationer cohort, as a whole.

In 2019, the Scottish Parliament Equality and Human Rights Committee’s Report into Race Equality, Employment and Skills found that 86% of BAME women had experienced racism, working in the public sector. Nuzhat Uthmani, Chair of EIS Anti-Racist Sub-Committee and Chair of the Diversity in the Education Workforce Subgroup to AREP, said, “Year on year, the data reports show us that we have to get it right for those already in the profession. To improve the diversity of the sector, teaching must be seen as a safe, welcoming and attractive career option.”

“All teachers and pupils, no matter their race, ethnicity or background, should be able to bring their whole selves to school and be respected, valued and included. Racism has no place in educational establishments, whether affecting a pupil or a member of staff.”

“Diverse workplaces and schools should not be a postcode lottery. No matter where teachers are employed, they should be able to rely on an equally delivered commitment to diversity across Local Authorities.”

"A diverse workforce reflects a multi-cultural and multi-racial Scottish society at all levels, promoting greater understanding and cohesion, towards a fairer and more inclusive society.”

Research conducted by the EIS last year found that only seven out of the twenty-six Councils who responded, had plans in place specifically to address the underrepresentation of BAME staff.

One year on, the EIS urges Councils to include proactive and racially literate actions in their Improvement Plans, that will show the local commitment and shared responsibility to advancing a more diverse Education profession.