Education news

Schools `failing to address' equalities issues

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates

SCHOOLS are failing to offer proper equalities training to their staff, a poll of teachers has found.

A majority of teachers are continuing to report discrimination and homophobic/transphobic practices in their workplace, according the NASUWT.

These were among the findings which emerged from a poll of teachers attending an equalities conference in Belfast.

The event saw delegates discuss a wide range of issues affecting the day-to-day lives of both teachers and pupils.

A survey conducted at the event found only 9 per cent reported that their school was actively addressing issues of homophobia and transphobia among staff.

About two-thirds - 59 per cent - were aware of discriminatory practices within their school.

In addition, not a single teacher had undertaken school or local authority-led equalities training during the previous two years.

And 19 per cent believed their school was not a welcoming environment for teachers of different religions.

NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said teachers and school leaders were clearly not being given the training and support they needed.

"Our education service should be inclusive, promoting and demonstrating tolerance, respect and understanding in an environment where everyone can work and learn free from abuse and fear," she said.

Justin McCamphill, NASUWT's national official for Northern Ireland, added: "The fact that not a single teacher had undertaken equality training in the past two years is truly shocking.

"The only equality training that these teachers are receiving is through their trade union. The NASUWT will continue to push for a more equal education system in Northern Ireland."

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