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BAME: 'Underrepresented At Every Level In UK Education Sector'

Posted on November 19, 2015 at 12:15 PM

It's a vicious circle. The lack of representation of Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) faces at the top of Britain's powerful elites needs to be addressed on all levels, with urgency.

Education provides a very visible pipeline.

The UK's ethnic minority student population has been rising over the past decade. This population as a whole (not just students) is predicted to more than double by the year 2051 to between 20-30% of total population. But the pace of demographic change has not been reflected in the representation of BAME teaching and leadership staff within the education sector, says a report just out. It concludes that BAME teachers and those in leadership roles are underrepresented "at every level of the profession."

Race to the Top:2, launched today in the UK Parliament by youth employment charity Elevation Networks, has found that Britain would need over 100,000 teachers and academics at various levels of the education sector in order to have a workforce that is reflective of the changing student population.

“We are launching this report following the Prime Minister's recent commitment to tackling inequality. Education must be at the heart of any attempts of giving everyone the best chance in succeeding in life” says Samuel Kasumu, Elevation Networks Founder.

Just over a week ago the largest ever survey on race equality in the U.K. workplace was conducted by the charity Business In the Community, (BITC) with YouGov. Its findings were shocking for a country that prides itself on tolerance, inclusion, and setting a global standard for better corporate governance in business with a focus on diversity.

BITC called for 'race' to be included in the defintion of 'diversity' set by the UK's Corporate Governance Code. (The link above will take you to piece on Forbes).

Hard on the heels of that, the Spencer Stuart 2015 UK Board Index revealed that BAME representation in Britain’s boardrooms stands today where female representation stood 17 years ago – in 1998.

A few days earlier, a report published by Directors UK highlighted the significant under-employment and under-representation of BAME directors in UK television production.

The report, 'UK Television – Adjusting The Colour Balance. BAME Directors Working in UK Television Production’, the result of research into the current employment rate of BAME directors across all programme genres in UK television, found that only 1.5% of programmes were made by a BAME director, while BAME directors make up just 3.5% of the directing community.

Today's report on education argues that there is a direct correlation between a lack of visible role models and attainment levels. Its findings are being presented to Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education.

The UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said the government is committed to to tackling inequality. In the past 4+years -since early 2011 - there has been a hard-hitting 'sell' on getting more women into boardrooms, and targets have been met, although at the start it was suggested there were no qualified women available.

Now that the PM has spoken, voices are beginning to respond. But there is no threat of EU quota on the issue of inclusion and representation. It will be interesting therefore, to see if there is any sense of urgency about 'adjusting the colour balance' in Britain.

There has also been a lot of debate about the puzzle of Britain's 'productivity problem'. Could it be that social inclusion (or the lack of it) is playing a part?

The lack of representation of BAME faces in critical roles in business and society should be of fundamental concern to our boardrooms. Unless, of course, it is more about power than best practice and corporate governance.


Categories: Inclusion, Representation, Diversity