School leadership and BME career prospects in England: the choice between being a group prototype or deviant head teacher

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Abstract

The body of research on the career prospects of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) teachers cites racism as one of the reasons for BME underrepresentation in positions of school leadership in England. Understanding the nature of such discriminatory practices is needed in order to find solutions. It has also been reported that pioneer BME leaders are perceived as role models. Such a claim is mainly based on their appointment rather than their action or inaction in facilitating the career progression of other members of BME staff. To address these gaps, this study draws on electronic survey data of eight respondents out of ten, two of whom provided rich written and interview narratives. The data was analysed under the group-based identity formation framework (Abraham et al. 2008) to suggest that the underrepresentation of BME staff due to racism can be explained by head teachers’ prototypicality of group/team values and their failure to deviate from these. That a BME senior leader acted in the same way highlights the following: the dominance of the role of head as a group prototype, the need to challenge deep-seated discrimination, and the view that increased representation needs to be matched with modified school-wide attitude.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2017

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