Equality, tolerance and respect are integral to a strong, prosperous and civilised society.

Prejudice and discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion or belief deny people their fundamental human rights, limit opportunity for everyone and undermine the cohesion of communities and of wider society.

Schools and colleges and the wider education system have a central role to play in promoting racial justice.

However, since 2010, government policy has stalled or reversed many of the gains made by the education system in recent years.

Free schools

The statutory Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) was introduced to ensure that schools and colleges play their part in advancing racial equality and tackling discrimination faced by staff and learners.

However, independent research commissioned by the NASUWT proves that many of the free schools opened by the Government are unaware of their duties and obligations under the PSED. [1]

Community cohesion

Schools and colleges have a critical role to play in promoting community cohesion and remain under a legal obligation to do so.

However, reforms introduced in 2010 by the Government mean that Ofsted no longer inspects whether or not they are fulfilling this obligation. [2]

Teachers’ pay and conditions

Schools and colleges should be communities founded on the principles of equality and respect, where discrimination is challenged and diversity is promoted on behalf of all members of these communities - pupils, parents and staff.

Ethnic minority achievement

Evidence obtained by the NASUWT confirms that Black and minority ethnic teachers lag behind their white colleagues in terms of their pay and the fairness with which their performance is managed. [3]

Evidence confirms that dedicated and specialist support for ethnic minority achievement and for pupils with English as an additional language (EAL) has a powerful and positive impact on educational outcomes.

This impact has been undermined by reductions in funding for such support and the abolition by the Government in 2011 of ring-fenced funding provided through the former Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant (EMAG). [4]

Tackling racist extremism

Equality and diversity will not be secured while racists and other extremists can use schools and colleges to spread hatred and intolerance.

However, Government Ministers continue to allow members of organisations that promote far-right extremism to serve as teachers and school governors, despite promises made to the contrary.

Hate crime

The number of race hate crimes increased by 15% (up 6,557 to 49,419 offences) between 2014/15 and 2015/16. Over the same period, religious hate crimes increased by 34% (up 1,107 to 4,400 offences). [5]

However, the resources available to the police to prevent and investigate hate crime have been cut significantly. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of full-time equivalent police officers in England and Wales fell from 144,353 to 122,859. [6]

Race and poverty

Poverty and disadvantage can have a profound impact on pupils’ educational achievement.

In the UK today, children from Black communities continue to be affected disproportionately by material disadvantage. The most recent official data shows that Black children are twice as likely to grow up in poverty as their white peers. [7]

Race and future life chances

A child’s ethnicity continues to be closely related to their future life chances.

The most recent official data shows that people from Black backgrounds are more likely to be unemployed and are less likely to obtain a degree or to work in a managerial position. [8]

[1] NASUWT/Race on the Agenda. (2014). Free schools, equality and inclusion, accessed on 31.05.17
[2] Department for Education (DfE) (2011). Freedom of Information Act Release: Community Cohesion, accessed on 31.05.17
[3] Owen, D. (2017). Report on employment and earnings trends for teachers with protected characteristics between 2010 and 2015, accessed on 01.06.17
[4] NASUWT (2012). Ethnic Minority Achievement, accessed on 01.06.17
[5] Home Office (2016). Hate Crime, England and Wales, 2015/16, accessed on 08.06.17
[6] Travis, A. (2017). 'Simple numbers tell story of police cuts under Theresa May'. The Guardian. (5 June), accessed on 08.06.17
[7] Osborne, S. (2016). ‘6 charts that show what its really like to be black or an ethnic minority in Britain’. The Independent (18 August), accessed on 30.05.17
[8] ibid


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