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Race, Racism and Discrimination in School Leadership: Evidence from England and South Africa Tony Bush and Kholeka Moloi.

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Presentation on theme: "Race, Racism and Discrimination in School Leadership: Evidence from England and South Africa Tony Bush and Kholeka Moloi."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race, Racism and Discrimination in School Leadership: Evidence from England and South Africa Tony Bush and Kholeka Moloi

2 Introduction Paper based on two research projects: 1.Black and Minority Ethnic Leaders in England (funded by NCSL) 2.‘Cross-boundary’ leaders in South Africa (funded by the University of Johannesburg) 3.Colleagues involved in both projects

3 Methodology 1.Two systematic literature reviews:  BME leaders (UK/International)  CB leaders (Funded by the MGSLG) 2.A survey of BME leaders in England (64 responses) 3.Case studies of 47 English leaders 4.Case studies of 46 South African leaders

4 Under-representation of BME leaders (England)  Only 48% of BME teachers become leaders compared to 71% of white women and 65% of white men (Powney et al 2003)  ‘I have been asked whether I am the cleaner or the teaching assistant – people don’t expect to see coloured senior staff’ (survey)  ‘One parent... Called me a “monkey”’.

5 Under-representation of CB leaders (South Africa) Leaders overwhelmingly work in schools previously reserved for their race % of black leaders in ‘black’ schools % of white leaders in ‘white’ schools % of ‘coloured’ leaders in ‘coloured’ schools % of Indian leaders in Indian schools

6 Experience of CB leaders  White, Indian and ‘coloured’ leaders are generally welcomed in the ‘black’ schools  Black, Indian and ‘coloured’ leaders face discrimination and hostility in ‘white’ schools  ‘The Indian and white educators do not accept black people readily’ (black leader).

7 Family and community attitudes  Participants in both countries want to maintain their culture  ‘Staying close to their communities’ influences where leaders choose to work in both countries  Family support is vital for both sets of leaders

8 Identity  Historical and geographical dimensions  SA leaders forced to practice in racially prescribed settings  ‘Black educators believe that white is good and clever’ (SA black participant)  English BME leaders trying ‘to make sense of their roots’ and adopting a ‘black to black’ perspective.

9 Discrimination  Covert in England but statutory in Apartheid South Africa until 1994  Attitudes change more slowly than the law  ‘The white construction of black reality prevails’ (Bhatt et al 1988: 150)  SA Cultural diversity may lead to conflict and ineffectiveness (Booysen 2003: 3)

10 Discrimination in England 1.14/64 report ‘no discrimination’ 2.Most report negative discrimination:  Racist attitudes, e.g in meetings (10)  Management attitudes (12)  LEA discrimination (6)  Colleagues’ attitudes (4)  Other, including parents (7)

11 Discrimination in South Africa  Continues across the racial divide 1.White educators unwilling to learn about black learners’ cultural backgrounds 2.Male ‘coloured’ teachers don’t want to work with a white female leader 3. Continuing racism for black and ‘coloured’ leaders 4.‘Cultural bias is diminishing’ (Indian)

12 Recruitment and selection  ‘Hidden discrimination’ for BME teachers seeking promotion (Powney et al 2003)  Career development inhibited by heads (9), SMTs (19), middle managers (5), LEAs (3), colleagues (8) and governors (1) –survey  ‘black people are faced with a glass ceiling’  SA appointments process ‘very bad’ and characterised by ‘racism’ and ‘bitterness’.

13 Isolation and exclusion  BME and CB leaders isolated in schools (Bariso 2001; Jones & Maguire 1997)  Prejudice in threshold assessment (BME)  Black leaders ‘excluded’ in SA white schools – ‘white educators are disrespectful’  One middle manager reports exclusion from SMT meetings & educators ‘defy her’

14 Overcoming the barriers  BME and CB leaders succeed despite the barriers, through: 1.Perseverance, resilience and determination 2.Support and networking Positive discrimination not seen as appropriate: ‘we want teachers because they can teach, not because they are black’

15 Conclusion  Racism ‘ingrained’ (in both countries?)  Specific context influences degree of racism  BME leaders may be ‘token blacks’  BME/CB leaders are exceptional ‘pioneers’  ‘If you are black you have to be exceptionally good to progress’


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