Reported by The Herald – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

Shocking incidents of casual racism in Scottish schools have been highlighted in a landmark report on the lack of teachers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

In one example last year a white teacher mentoring a talented ethnic minority teaching student complained to her university about the way she smelled.

In another case a teacher at a secondary school with pupils from Pakistan, India and Syria was overheard by an ethnic minority teacher saying: “I think I am coming into a refugee camp”.

The Scottish Government-backed report, entitled Teaching in a Diverse Scotland, said the country’s education system could no longer shy away from addressing “racism, racial discrimination or harassment”.

It found the lack of diversity in the teaching profession was caused by a range of barriers experienced by black and minority ethnic (BME) people.

The report said: “The working group is concerned the depth of disparity of understanding and awareness of issues is acting as a major barrier to diversifying the teaching workforce.

“In our view, this … is present throughout the arc of a teacher’s career from their experience of school as a pupil, applying to university teaching courses, student experience within programmes, seeking permanent employment and ultimately to applying for promotion.

“Being subjected to low level everyday racism in a school setting is impacting on … morale, confidence and self-esteem.”

The working group report comes at a time when the proportion of BME teachers is in decline accounting for just one per cent of the total compared to nearly two per cent in 2011.

The last Scottish census recorded the percentage of people in Scotland from minority ethnic groups as four per cent.

The figures are even lower for headteachers and deputy heads with 0.6 per cent of the total working in schools from BME backgrounds.


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