The Telegraph is reporting that Sir Michael Wilshaw has suggested schools should be encouraged to discriminate against white teachers to ensure an “ethnic mix” of staff…
Sir Michael Wilshaw said the teaching body recruited by any school needed to provide a “fair representation” of pupils.
Where a school has a particularly high proportion of pupils from different ethnic minorities, “it is important to have a staff which reflects that”, he said.
Sir Michael’s comments came in a radio phone-in on LBC during which he was challenged by a mother from Gravesend in Kent who said her mixed race children were taught in a grammar school by “predominantly white” teachers.
“The teaching staff are predominantly white and the students are predominantly black,” said the caller, identifying herself only as Carol.
“That’s not equal representation of staff to students and that’s a problem that my children learn from predominantly white British liberals and not from other races and other cultures.”
Sir Michael said: “I’ve always worked in inner city environments with youngsters of different ethnic backgrounds and I always felt it was important to try and get a staff mix in that sort of environment.
“If I had two people applying for a job of equal merit and I felt that we needed to increase the number of teachers from ethnic minorities from that background … then I would apply positive discrimination, as long as the two people were of equal merit.
“I think there needs to be a fair representation. If the ethnic mix is very diverse it is important to have a staff which reflects that…”
Positive discrimination is not actually allowed under equality legislation but is Sir Michael right to suggest it might have a role to play, especially in schools where the staff do not reflect the makeup of the student body? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…
[advpoll id=”95″ title=”Today’s Poll” width=””]
Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!