Black and ethnic minority teachers face 'invisible glass ceilings', study finds

Jonathan Mitchell
BME teachers said the experience left them "overburdened": Getty Images

Black and ethnic minority teachers are being handed stereotypical topics such as Black History Month at schools and face “invisible glass ceilings”, a study has found.

Minority teachers are also viewed as “troublemakers” and “aggressive” if they challenge their superiors’ decisions, according to a survey by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the race think tank the Runnymede Trust.

Despite the findings, those who responded to the NUT’s survey also said they do not think discrimination at schools is deliberate and BME staff are being “unwittingly excluded”.

Kevin Courtney, general secretary of the NUT, said: ‘’Racism is not discussed enough in schools, even at a time when intolerance is increasing within society.

“These findings remind us that it is a defining feature of black, Asian and minority (BME) teachers’ lives and deeply affects the experience of young black people. It is urgent we open up conversations about racism in staff rooms, in classrooms and in the curriculum.”

“Children come to school in a world that is not equal.”

The study was compiled through surveys of 1,027 BME teachers in different areas across the country through summer last year.

Many minority teachers said the experience was leading them to become increasingly “demoralised” and leaving them “overburdened”.

A third of those surveyed said they had never even applied for a promotion.

Dr Zubaida Haque, a research associate at the Runnymede Trust, said schools should be concerned by the findings.

She said: “If BME and white pupils see that BME teachers being treated unequally this sends out unacceptable signals to the next generation.

“For this reason, both schools and the government must do everything in its power to tackle the barriers faced by BME teachers in schools.”

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