The data released by the DfE last week, on the School Workforce at Census day in November 2019, updated the information on the ethnicity of the teaching workforce. Although some progress has been made in creating a teaching force that reflects society as a whole, progress is still not good enough, especially t the headteacher level.
Taking two geographical areas at random: Brent in North West London and Cornwall, it is possible to review the changes in the ethnic make-up of the teaching force over the period between November 2014 and November 2019; a period of five years.
|Any other ethnic group||82||118||5||5|
|Any other mixed background||74||99||14||20|
|Asian or Asian British||401||477||7||5|
|Black or black British||337||328||6||5|
|Information not yet obtained||170||275||117||211|
Now, admittedly, over this five year period the number of teachers in both authorities hasn’t altered very much, but it is depressing to see that the quality of the data has declined. The number of teachers where information has not yet been obtained increased, while the number refusing to provide the information declined in Brent quite significantly.
The best that can be said is that there was increases in Brent in the non-Black groups with the BAME community and the Black group remained relatively stable in numbers. In Cornwall, the numbers of BAME remained staggeringly low; increasing from 32 to 35 over the five years.
As I have been interested in Leadership data for nearly 40 years i thought it helpful to look at the number of headteachers in the categories classified as black or black British. This information is buried in the School Workforce data for anyone interested.
|All ‘Black or Black British’|
I have excluded some years to make the table more manageable. The disappointment is the stagnation in the totals over the past five years. Probably, less than two per cent of headteachers in all state-funded schools are defined as from the Black ethnic group. As the definitions of ethnicity expand, there will be some that should be added to this group, but using the Black or Black British definition, the headteachers constitute less than two per cent of state schools in England.
When the qualification for headship was mandatory, it was possible to track the progress of specific groups and to identify under-represented groups and how they might be attracted to headships. Abolishing the requirement for headteachers to possess an NPQH was not one of the Labour government’s finest moves. As a result, we now have to rely upon the market, and a profession with little in the way of career development for individuals.
Surely, it is time for action, since school leaders can be powerful role models for their communities and can help inspire future generations.