Are schools looking at the risks for their BAME staff?
With some controversy, schools in the UK are due to reopen next week for a limited number of age groups. These measures were outlined as part of the governments new stay alert strategy. Councils are currently going through the process of deciding whether to follow the governments timeline and open schools, or delay until further safety measures can be put in place.
The top priority for the schools and councils is to ensure practical safety measures around social distances are implemented upon re-opening, and then convincing the parents that the schools are safe for the children to attend.
However, with these re-openings, there is concern that no-one is talking about race.
Black people are 4 times more likely to die from corona virus than white people. These shocking numbers also extend to other ethnic groups (1.3 for Bangladeshi and 1.4 for Pakistani heritage males). The reason for this is still unknown.
So far, there has been no guidance for BAME staff or pupils by the department for education, and according to government figures, BAME people are underrepresented in leadership roles in schools such as headteachers.
Many schools have over 90% black and Asian students, and as for staff, a recent NEU survey reported 70% of black staff feel “very unsafe” about returning to work.
Headteachers need to take a more inclusive approach to their BAME staff, and like many hospital trusts, provide a tailored approach for BAME members of staff.
Looking at the post Covid world, BAME representation needs to be increased at the top of schools. This can be achieved through using an inclusive recruitment practices framework such as the one provided in the recently launched Accreditation for inclusive recruitment.
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