Damian Hinds speaks to educational diversity leaders about the importance of diversity and inclusion in education. GOV.UK reports.
We often talk about diversity as a matter of fairness and non-discrimination, including to individuals. And that is indeed extremely important – a matter of equity and justice. And we believe it is, simply, right that we should reflect the make-up of our communities.
But for organisations, there is also intrinsic value in diversity of your workforce – including age, gender, disability, sexuality and ethnicity. If we look at three aspects: – Broaden the talent pool – Reflect and understand the customer base – Different perspectives and problem-solving These all support productivity.
I am delighted to join you today for your discussions about diversity in school leadership. It’s an issue I’m passionate about promoting.
As Education Secretary, I am committed to creating a culture where teachers love their jobs and where children do their best. And we all know the huge difference a great teacher can make to a child’s life.
The problem the UK faces is that we need more of them. Although we have almost the highest number of teachers ever, with pupil numbers in secondary schools rising, the demand for them is outstripping supply.
And although the number of teachers and heads from minority ethnic backgrounds is certainly going up, this is from a low base – it is lower for example than the NHS and we need to see more of them being represented in school leadership.
The number of ethnic minority teachers in nursery and primary schools rose from 9% to 11%, and from 13% to 17% in secondary schools between 2010 and 2017. There’s a corresponding rise too in the numbers of those in headteacher positions (up from 5% to 7% in primaries and 7% to 9% in secondaries). Welcome though those changes are, they still fall well short of the 19.5% that makes up the UK population and even further below the 32% of the school pupil population who come from ethnic minority groups.
Let’s say you’re 14, you’re not white and the school you go to has no black or minority teachers. What does that tell you? Or if you are the only teacher from an ethnic minority background in a school. How might that make you feel?
A study by Johns Hopkins University in the US has found that black students who had a teacher who “looks like them” were more likely to graduate from high school and go on to university than those who didn’t.
While we cannot make direct comparisons between the UK and the US, we should take note.
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