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Patrick Roach Equalities Weekend June BANNER

The next Government needs to put in place a national workforce plan with equality at its heart that will build an inclusive, diverse and representative teaching profession, NASUWT members were told.

General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said policy making had to have “equality at the top” of its agenda when it came to the workforce and building diversity within it.

He was speaking at the NASUWT Equalities Weekend Conference in Birmingham which saw members from across the UK meet for a weekend of workshops, networking events, CPD and advice sessions and to hear from national speakers from the Union and beyond.

Dr Roach was in conversation with Sarah Soyei, Head of Strategy and Development at Equaliteach a charity which provides equality and diversity training across the education sector.

Speaking about the challenges around equalities and diversity in education and how to address it he said: “There needs to be a national workforce plan with equality at its heart.

"We need a workforce plan which will build an inclusive and diverse and representative teaching profession because from a students perspective, if I don't see teachers, if I don't see a workforce that looks like me, that understands where I come from then how relatable is my educational experience in that context?

We need to build that diversity. That is the strength of the teaching profession and the strength of our education system. We want to see a new government committing to delivering a national workforce plan with equality at the top.

Dr Roach chaired the TUC Anti-Racism Taskforce which has called for a new Race Equality Act to give new rights for Black workers in the labour market. The body was something he said had been a “privilege” to lead. 

But he warned the NASUWT would not “rest on its laurels” when it came to campaigning for new rights

At the Conference, an overwhelming 98% of members said they believed there should be mandatory ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting requirements, similar to those for gender.

Dr Roach said: “It’s really important that we understand what's going on within our schools and colleges when it comes to pay…because pay gap reporting reveals not just about how people are paid, but where they are in relation to the organization's hierarchical structure."

He said when it came to the public sector equality duty there needed to be "rocket boosters" put under it. He added:

"We've got an Equality and Human Rights Commission which is frankly under-resourced. I'm going to be generous to them here but in the eyes of many of our members it has become a toothless tiger. And that needs to change.

"We need to see that duty, that positive duty to not just promote equality, but to advance it, to advance it for LGBTI people, to advance it for women, to advance it for disabled workers, for young workers, for Black and Minority Ethnic workers.

"We need to see that, being paid more than lip service, being real and being delivered in practice. That's what our members want to see. And that's what I hope the future government will deliver."


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