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‘Lack of diversity' in Scotland’s schools raises concerns

LACK OF DIVERSITY: Data suggests that Scotland has no head or deputy head teachers from a black or Asian background

CONCERNS HAVE been raised over the lack of senior teaching staff from ethnic minorities in Scottish schools.

According to data from the Scottish government it has been suggested that the country has no head or deputy head teachers from a black or Asian background.

An investigation carried out by the BBC managed to identify at least one secondary school with an Asian head teacher but the same is not the case for identifying black head teachers.

The statistics were highlighted by the Liberal Democrats, who described them as "staggering" and the issue has also raised concerns amongst the teaching union who met for their annual general meeting last week.

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," McArthur added.

Presently black Scottish nationals account for 1 per cent of the population and are rapidly rising, a 2011 Scottish census identified 37,000 black Scots most of which occupy Aberdeen.

The figures have suggested that there are only 18 black or Asian principal teachers out of 5,403 secondary principal teachers despite there being tens of thousands of ethnic minority pupils across Scotland.

The issue was a point of discussion at the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) AGM meeting where there was unanimous support for further research into the number of BME people working in the education sector.

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."

Ramsay added: "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."

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

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."