Welcoming the publication of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group final report, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:
"Coronavirus has underlined and highlighted widespread and systemic racism which exists across Scotland and which must not be ignored.
“The Scottish Government has failed to respond to the concerns of black teachers during the pandemic. Our black members have expressed serious concerns that their experiences of racism and racial injustice have been largely ignored and that their safety at work is seriously threatened as a result of a failure of the Scottish Government to provide a robust race equality impact assessment of its Covid-19 emergency measures.
“The voices of black teachers must be listened to and accepted if the Government and schools are to demonstrate that they are taking racial justice seriously.
“The fact that some local authorities still lack impetus in addressing diverse recruitment or have ignored it is unacceptable. What this informs us is that a ‘business as usual’ approach to inclusion is insufficient.
“The report accurately acknowledges that racism continues to be experienced by black and minority ethnic people in Scotland across all aspects of society, including in education, and that there is a need for the Scottish education system to become actively anti-racist.
“Efforts to improve diversity in the teaching profession must strongly focus on getting it right for those black and minority ethnic teachers already in the profession.”
The NASUWT is also calling for:
- The effective implementation and enforcement of the Equality Act;
- A mandatory requirement on employers to report their race pay gaps;
- Publication employer by employer of action plans to tackle the inequalities that black people face, including in work and the provision of education;
- Publication by the Government and employers of all the equality impact assessments related to their response to the Covid-19 pandemic and to call for full transparency with regard to how these bodies have considered black communities in their policy decisions;
- A full independent public inquiry into the Scottish Government’s actions during the pandemic on racial justice at work and in the education system
Dr Roach added:
“We will not stand by whilst racism continues to operate and where white and black working people are pitched against each other while racial injustice continues to exist.”
Jane Peckham, NASUWT National Official Scotland, said:
“The NASUWT’s Act for Racial Justice Campaign aims to challenge all forms of race discrimination, injustice and inequality in education for black pupils and teachers.
“The findings from our most recent Black Teachers Conference that one in four teachers believed that racism in their workplace had worsened since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic and two-thirds reported that their employers had failed to address the specific and increased risks that black staff face from Covid-19 demonstrates everyday racism is a real and lived experience for black teachers.
“It’s time for action and no more excuses. Stronger leadership for racial justice in the education system is urgently needed and both leaders and institutions must be held to account.”