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Equal Opportunities or Affirmative Action: The Induction of Minority Ethnic Teachers

By Tehmina N. Basit and Olwen McNamara


Currently in the UK there is much pressure to increase the recruitment and retention of ethnic minority teachers, not only to respond to the continuing shortage, but to develop a teaching force that reflects the diversity in the UK population and provides role models for ethnic minority students. There is, however, little research on how ethnic minority teachers cope with the demands of the profession, especially in their first year. The introduction by the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) of an induction period for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) in 1999 was an attempt to create a programme of individual support and monitoring to provide NQTs with a bridge from Initial Teacher Training (ITT) to becoming established in their chosen profession. We believe it is now timely and important to examine how ethnic minority beginning teachers experience these new arrangements. In this paper we, therefore, explore the induction experiences of British teachers of Asian and African Caribbean origin in three Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in the North West of England. We conclude that the NQTs are being provided with equal opportunities by their employers and that affirmative action may have been undertaken by a few of these employers during the recruitment and selection process, although some anecdotal evidence is also presented of discrimination. Further, the paper suggests that the majority of the NQTs find their schools and LEAs supportive and the induction process valuable, although it highlights the need for additional support in some individual cases

Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0260747042000229735
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