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The lack of progress in making Scotland’s teaching profession more diverse and equal is exacerbating the current recruitment and retention crisis in the profession, teachers at the Annual Conference of NASUWT Scotland-The Teachers’ Union will warn today.

Representatives at the conference in Glasgow will call for action to improve the representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) teachers in Scotland’s schools.

They will also warn that too little effort is being made to encourage more men to work in the primary, special and early years sectors and for women to teach some science and technical subjects and to enter school leadership.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“Pupils benefit and the teaching profession is strengthened when it can harness the skills and talents of a wide cross-section of society.
 
“Yet despite the NASUWT consistently highlighting the issue, we have seen no improvement in the representation of teachers from minority ethnic groups in Scotland. Official statistics from the Scottish Government showed that in 2017 just 1% of teachers were from an ethnic minority group.
 
“On gender equality there is also much work to be done. Only 10% of primary teachers are men according to the Government’s 2017 figures, falling even further to 6% in early years education. Women teachers continue to be under-represented in leadership position across all phases of education-in 2017 63% of secondary teachers were female compared to only 41% of secondary headteachers.
 
“The Scottish Government, employers and teacher training providers need to undertake detailed analysis of any barriers which may be preventing those from under-represented groups from choosing teaching and progressing during their careers.”
 
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
 
“These are systematic issues which we have been raising for some time, yet little or no progress appears to be being made.
 
“Careful thought needs to be given to how discrimination and entrenched ideas about gender roles can be overcome.
 
“The problems of declining pay levels and increasing workload also too need to feed into this debate as we know these are factors which are making teaching an increasingly unattractive career option across the board.
 
“Teaching is a stronger profession when it can harness and benefit from a diverse workforce. Solving this issue is both the right thing to do and at a time when teacher recruitment and retention is coming under increasing pressure, the necessary thing to do.”

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