August 9, 2022

Aspiring black history teachers rejected

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blackteacherBy Rykesha Hudson From The Voice

Less than three applicants offered the opportunity to train in the subject

DISAPPOINTING: Experts claim discrimination can put some black people off from pursuing a teaching career

WORRYING STATISTICS have revealed that less than three prospective black history teachers were accepted for postgraduate training courses last year.

According to an annual report from the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR), 20 black African and Caribbean people applied to pursue postgraduate courses in history education in 2013, but less than three gained acceptance.

A spokesperson for UCAS, the body responsible for the GTTR, told The Voice: “All the statistics in the report are straightforward summary tables, and therefore do not take account of factors such as the level of demand or competition for each course, location of course and the strength of an individual’s application.”

The issue appears even bigger when juxtaposed against the 506 white candidates accepted from the 1,937 who submitted applications. Based on the figures the acceptance rate among white applicants is about 26 per cent, compared to 15 per cent for their black counterparts.

Further investigation into the GTTR report found that the numbers of potential black teachers accepted by teacher training institutions was significantly low across all subjects – an estimated 17.2 per cent of black African applicants, and 28.7 per cent of black Caribbean – gained a spot.

Education union ATL has supported racial equality in the education system for many years. Its equalities officer, Dr Wanda Wyporska, said she was pleased the figures had come to light


“Now we can have the evidence to back up what we have known for a long time,” said Wyporska, who is a mixed race history graduate. “After a struggle to keep black history on the curriculum, it seems that now we must turn our attention to getting black teachers into the classroom.”

Last year, education secretary Michael Gove proposed scrapping Mary Seacole, once voted one of the greatest black Britons, from the national curriculum. But due to pressure from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and a campaign by Operation Black Vote, the idea was scrapped.

However, a spokesperson from the Department for Education (DfE) told The Voice: “The number of teachers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds has risen year-on-year.”

According to the spokesperson, there were 43,600 teachers from minority backgrounds in 2004, compared to 57,000 by 2012.

Dr Rowena Arshad, author of Social Justice Re-Examined: Dilemmas and Solutions for the Classroom Teacher, argued that although pupil cohorts in schools were increasingly diverse in relation to ethnicity, the “teaching workforce has remained stubbornly homogenous”.

Arshad, who is also the co-director of the centre for education for racial equality in Scotland (CERES), said that the experiences of racial discrimination were dissuading black students from pursuing teaching.

She added: “Schools of education have a great responsibility to ensure we are pro-active in reaching out to black and minority ethnic communities and potential applicants.”

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