New analysis from Durham College’s Proof Centre for Training exhibits that pupils in sure components of England are unlikely to ever have a instructor from the identical racial or ethnic background as them. Professor Stephen Gorard, the centre’s director, claims that is having a ‘appreciable impression’ on ethnic-minority pupils. ‘Not being taught by somebody who sounds and appears like them might have an effect on pupils for issues like suspensions and exclusions, the categorisations for particular wants, their absence and their happiness, expectations and aspirations’, he advised the Guardian final week.

Gorard’s claims could have generated some headlines. However they look like contradicted by the analysis itself. Durham College’s new research exhibits that the variety of academics from black-Caribbean backgrounds has risen over latest years and is now proportionate to the variety of black-Carribbean pupils nationally. Given the report’s assertion that having academics of the identical race corresponds to an enchancment in pupils’ instructional attainment, one may due to this fact count on black-Carribbean pupils’ efficiency to have improved lately.

However that has not been the case. The obtainable statistics proceed to point out that pupils from a black-Carribbean background are persistently one of many worst-performing teams within the English faculty system. For the 2020-21 educational yr, the typical ‘Attainment 8’ rating (throughout eight GCSE-level {qualifications}) for pupils of black-Caribbean origin was 44.0 (out of 90) – solely pupils from Gypsy / Roma and Irish-traveller backgrounds scored decrease. In 2021-22, the speed of suspensions for pupils of black-Caribbean origin was 12 per cent, which can also be excessive in contrast with earlier years.

Having academics of the identical ethnic background doesn’t look like resulting in constructive outcomes for pupils of black-Caribbean origin. This exhibits that the ethno-racial identification of academics is clearly not the magic bullet the researchers declare it’s.

The claims made for racial and ethnic illustration amongst academics crumble additional if you take a look at the efficiency of pupils of Bangladeshi origin. In 2021-22, simply 0.7 per cent of schoolteachers in England have been of Bangladeshi origin, in contrast with two per cent of pupils. Bangladeshi-heritage academics are due to this fact ‘under-represented’ in English colleges.

However that doesn’t appear to be affecting pupils from a Bangladeshi background. They’re now one of many stronger-performing teams in England, with a median Attainment 8 rating in 2020-21 of 55.6 (11.6 factors greater than their black-Carribbean friends). The identical goes for pupils from black-African communities. In 2021-22, only one per cent of schoolteachers have been of black-African origin, in contrast with 4 per cent of pupils. But, these pupils nonetheless carried out notably higher than their friends of black-Caribbean origin, and are much less more likely to be suspended and excluded.

It’s clear that the ethnic composition of the instructing occupation is just not actually shaping children’ instructional outcomes in any respect. Much more essential are elements like household stability, and the worth hooked up to schooling within the family and the broader neighborhood. Amongst households of Indian and Chinese language origin, for instance, instructional success is broadly seen as the best springboard in the direction of future monetary safety. Therefore, pupils from Indian or Chinese language backgrounds are likely to do higher than friends from different backgrounds.

Extra importantly, it’s additionally clear that the ability and character of schoolteachers issues way over their ethnic or racial background. That’s additionally why pupils from Bangladeshi backgrounds are doing nicely educationally. They’re benefitting from latest enhancements in instructing requirements in colleges in London’s japanese boroughs, the place many Bangladeshi-origin communities reside. Faculties there have began to rent formidable and energetic academics of all backgrounds who’ve come via varied modern teacher-training programmes, resembling Educate First.

If ethnic illustration within the instructing occupation actually formed instructional outcomes, then white-British kids could be one of many highest-performing teams in England. However they’re not. In actual fact, pupils from a white-British background lag behind quite a lot of non-white ‘under-represented’ teams. The extent of faculty attainment is especially low within the locations like Knowsley and Blackpool in north-west England, the place pupils and academics come overwhelmingly from a white British background.

There are numerous social, financial and cultural elements that form pupil efficiency in English colleges. However the racial and ethnic identification of schoolteachers isn’t considered one of them. If we’re critical about enhancing instructional outcomes for all kids, we have to go away racial identification politics behind.

Rakib Ehsan is the writer of Past Grievance, which is offered to order on Amazon.

To investigate about republishing spiked’s content material, a proper to answer or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.