BAME school staff feel jobs are awarded based on ‘who you know’

Out of 13,000 education staff in Glasgow this year, 437 workers are of ethnic origin.

BAME school staff feel jobs are awarded based on ‘who you know’ Drazen Zigic via iStock
BAME: Out of 13,000 education staff in Glasgow this year, 437 workers are of ethnic origin.

Council bosses have been trying to hire more school staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to reflect Glasgow’s population better.

A meeting heard there has been success in recruiting more diverse workers and efforts are being made to improve their chances of promotion.

Most higher earning roles in schools are held by white Scottish people.

A council paper said BAME staff have reported: “They are not considered for promoted posts because they lack experience and they cannot get experience because they feel that posts are too often appointed on the basis of ‘those you know’.”

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Out of 13,000 education staff in Glasgow this year, 437 workers are of ethnic origin. That is up from 382 last year.

A report on improving diversity was presented to the council’s education, skills and early years city policy committee last week.

It said increasing diversity “would provide our young people with positive role models to consider a career in education”.

Council officer Mary Arthur told the committee “we recognise we still have a long way to go” and there is “lots of work to do”.

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The council has been working with Islamic education charity Al-Meezan to carry out recruitment.

The partnership with the charity resulted in the hiring of 47 staff from the Muslim community in nurseries and schools.

Work is also taking place with Cemvo and the Gurdwaras.

To help boost promotion chances, the council offered places on a UWS early years degree course to child development officers who identified as BAME.

Twenty two Glasgow nursery employees landed a place on degree courses.

Five teachers from BAME communities were given the chance to work in principal roles for a year from August to gain experience.

Ms Arthur said career advice is offered to refugees and asylum seekers who arrive in Scotland and are often highly qualified but at a loss about how to proceed.

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Chair, councillor Rhiannon Spear, said she is “happy the work is ongoing”.

Councillor Graham Campbell praised the department’s achievements so far but described the number of African Scottish people being employed in education as “appallingly low”.

He asked what is being done to reach out to other communities including Africans and Chinese people. He called for targeted outreach to get in touch with more communities.

The politician pointed out there are also not enough teachers from BAME communities or men.

Ms Arthur said the council needed to look at ways to engage with other communities in Glasgow and said it is about fostering key contacts.

She also pointed out newly qualified teachers are probationers from universities – which are also looking at ways to promote diversity among undergraduates.

By local democracy reporter Sarah Hilley