Scotland

'Lack of diversity' among Scottish school heads

  • 14 June 2015
  • From the section Scotland
teacher

Concern has been raised over the lack of senior teachers from ethnic minority communities in Scottish schools.

Scottish government data suggested there were no head or deputy head teachers from a black or Asian background in 2014.

The statistics had been highlighted by the Liberal Democrats, who described them as "staggering".

However, the BBC has since learned that the head teacher of at least one secondary school is of Asian origin.

It has also emerged the head teacher now in post at one Scottish primary school is black and there is a deputy head teacher from an ethnic minority background at another Scottish secondary.

The Scottish government said it wanted to see a diverse workforce at every level of the education system.

The issue was also raised by the EIS teaching union at its AGM last week.

Despite there being tens of thousands of ethnic minority pupils across Scotland, the figures also suggested there were only 18 black or Asian principal teachers out of 5,403 secondary principal teachers.

Scottish Lib Dem education spokesman Liam McArthur said: "It remains too often the case that those holding top jobs in most sectors are not reflective of the diverse nature of our society.

"By better reflecting our diversity at primary and secondary education level we can make a positive change which lasts for generations.

"This is a staggering revelation. It warrants a detailed response from Scottish ministers."

'Fair and accessible'

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: "Working with local authorities the Scottish government wants to see a diverse workforce at every level, from the classroom to school leadership.

"We are ensuring that the new masters qualification for headship - mandatory from 2018/19 - is fully equality impact assessed so that it is fair and accessible for all."

A motion passed unanimously at the EIS AGM last week called for data to be gathered and analysed on the number of black and minority ethnic people employed as teachers and lecturers, as well as the number of those holding promoted posts.

The motion also called for any issues regarding under-representation to be raised with Scottish local government and Colleges Scotland.

EIS equality convener Bill Ramsay said: "With more black and minority ethnic teachers in promoted positions there is a far greater likelihood that the curriculum will be diverse.

"Black and ethnic minority parents are more likely to have a more positive attitude when they consider their relationship with the school.

"There is a greater likelihood of attitudinal change amongst the ethnic majority teacher workforce if amongst the workforce there are black and ethnic minority promoted colleagues."