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‘Scandalous’ racism in Liverpool’s education system

INVISIBLE: New report says there is a dearth of black teachers

NEW RESEARCH by University of Manchester academics has revealed that just 22 Liverpudlian teachers from a total of 4,192 are from an African-Caribbean background,

Professor Bill Boyle and Marie Charles say the underrepresentation of African-Caribbeans from Europe’s oldest black community in education and local government in the city is ‘scandalous’ and needs urgent action.

Their study reviews black representation in the Liverpool teaching system and council workforce between 2003 and 2010. The study revisits the 1989 Gifford report, commissioned by the Thatcher Government eight years after the 1981 Toxteth riots.

Lord Gifford found that racial discrimination had been "uniquely horrific" in Liverpool, forcing the council to adopt a 10% target for black employment across all Liverpool council departments.

But according to the researchers, only 0.5% of Liverpool’s teachers in 2010 are from the black community – a figure which has not changed since Gifford’s report, say the researchers. The black population of Liverpool is over 2% of the city's total.

The research is published in the latest issue of Journal of Education Policy.

Department of Education data shows that in 2010, Liverpool employed two black Caribbean teachers, two black Africans, 12 from other black backgrounds, one white/black Caribbean and five white/black Africans.
The figures, say the team, compare poorly to other parts of the country, especially inner London and outer London where 11% and 5% of the teaching workforce respectively are black.

The ethnicity data of the Liverpool Council workforce in 2010 also reveals that only 2% of the Liverpool Council’s workforce is black, well below the 10 per cent target.

Professor Boyle said: “Liverpool is a city which has long viewed black children as an educational problem and a threat to the educational standards of the white community. There is no significant black presence within the Council’s structure, its education department nor within the school governance, management or teaching system. This is scandalous in a city which has had an Afro-Caribbean community for over 400 years - probably Europe’s oldest.”

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