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Race discrimination in Liverpool widespread, finds study

07 Jun 2012

New research by University of Manchester academics has revealed that just 22 Liverpudlian teachers are from an Afro-Caribbean background, out of a total of 4,192.

Professor Bill Boyle and Marie Charles say the underrepresentation of Afro-Caribbeans from Europe’s oldest black community in education  -  and throughout local government in the city  -  is ‘scandalous’ and needs urgent action.

Their study reviews black representation in the Liverpool teaching and council workforce between 2003 and 2010, revisiting the 1989 Gifford report, commissioned by the Thatcher Government in the wake of the 1981 Toxteth riots.

The research is published in the latest issue of Journal of Education policy.

Lord Gifford found that racial discrimination had been "uniquely horrific" in Liverpool, forcing the council to adopt a 10% target for black employment across all Liverpool council departments.

But according to the researchers, only 0.5% of Liverpool’s teachers in 2010 are from the black community – a figure which has not changed since Gifford say the researchers. The black population of Liverpool is over 2% of the city's total.

Government Department of Education data show that in 2010, Liverpool employed two black Caribbean teachers, two black Africans, 12 from other black backgrounds, one white/black Caribbean and five white/black Africans.

The figures- say the team - compare poorly to other parts of the country, especially Inner London and Outer London where 11% and 5% of the teaching workforce are black respectively.

The ethnicity data of the Liverpool Council workforce in 2010 also reveals that only 2% of the Liverpool Council’s workforce is black, well below the 10 per cent target.

Professor Boyle said: “Liverpool is a city which has long viewed black children as an educational problem and a threat to the educational standards of the white community.

“There is no significant black presence within the Council’s structure, its education department nor within the school governance, management or teaching system.

“This is scandalous in a city which has had an Afro-Caribbean community for over 400 years -  probably Europe’s oldest.”

He added: “It does seem the authorities accept this discriminatory teaching workforce data and are showing reluctance to address ways to alleviate it.

“Our task was made much harder  because Liverpool has consistently failed to collect ethnicity data despite the legal requirement of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000).

“Does the black population have to remain invisible and disempowered by this white hegemony for another 20 years before anything is done?”
 

Notes for editors

‘In my Liverpool home’: an investigation into the institutionalised invisibility of Liverpool’s black citizens is published  in the Journal of Education Policy

The researchers used official Department for Children, Schools and Families’ (DCSF) teaching workforce national statistics which detail teacher ethnicity data by Local Authority (LA) and Government region for 2009 and cross-checked these against the returns from 2003 to 2009.

Bill Boyle is the chair of educational assessment, School of Education, University of Manchester.

Marie Charles is a research consultant at the Centre for Formative Assessment Studies, University of Manchester.

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The University of Manchester
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Michael.addelman@manchester.ac.uk