The Education Secretary has said that the number of black-headed teachers in the country is “not good enough”.
He said it was “important” that teaching was an “inclusive profession”, to ensure that students from diverse backgrounds are represented and motivated.
At the conference of the NAHT School Leaders Union London Black Head teacher Frances Akinde called on the Secretary of Education to commit to removing barriers to leadership and increasing diversity.
Mr Jahvi replied: “The school leadership is not representative when it comes to race, and as you say, there are not enough Black headteachers.
“I will go ahead and say that there are not enough black leaders at the high levels of the civil service and departments across the government and we need to do better there as well.”
Addressing school leaders in Westminster, he said: “I really think it’s important that teaching is an inclusive profession.
“schools And their leadership teams should reflect their communities and their students and I am absolutely determined to see improvement.
“I think we need inspiring teachers to represent and inspire students from all walks of life.”
At the conference, Ms. Akinde told the Secretary of Education: “In almost every room where I enter as a school leader, I am often the only person who looks like me. Even more so when it comes to special education. .
“And we all know it’s hard to be what you can’t see. There are currently only 0.2% of headmasters who are black and female.
“As one of those black female principals, I know the work that NAHT and Leaders for Race Equality are doing, but I would like to know what you can do to remove barriers to leadership and increase diversity. Committed?
Addressing the proportion of black school leaders, Mr. Jahavi said: “It’s not good enough. We have to go further and I hope we do it together.”
He added: “I want us to make sure we continue to encourage more black and ethnic minority candidates into the profession.”
The education secretary was also challenged by the pressure of funding the actual terms facing schools ahead of a spending review later this month.
He added: “Of course I fully recognize the difficult decisions you have to make on a daily basis to make every pound count and use what is best to support the kids.”
The minister said the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) review – which was launched in 2019 – was a “high priority” for them.
Mr. Jahvi was also asked whether the government would allow the state’s schools to remain under the control of the local authority instead of converting them into academies.
Addressing the school leaders, he said: “I believe that schools benefit from being part of a multi-academy trust.”
But the education secretary said: “We are not going to set an arbitrary time frame for achieving wholesale structural change.
“But I think the strength of the trust structure, the evidence is very clear, I think, once again during the pandemic, how well they were able to respond.”
School leader Katherine Jones demanded a “concrete guarantee” from Mr Zahvi that headmasters in maintained schools would be able to decide whether they wanted to join a multi-academy trust.
She told the conference: “We do not need unwanted, pressing structural changes in these unprecedented and challenging times. Let’s do our job.”
NS education secretary Answered: “I will not set an arbitrary time limit.”
Delegates at the convention passed a resolution on Saturday calling on the national executive to renew efforts to “strongly oppose any move by the government to provide forced education” in any school.
NAHT Secretary General Paul Whitman said: “Broadly speaking, what we heard from Mr Jahavi today was encouraging.
“However, the real test is what it is prepared to do immediately to reward greater investment from the Treasury in a comprehensive spending review, and then how it chooses to evolve the policy over the coming weeks and months.
“Mr. Jahvi questioned the funding, the move to convert more schools into academies, and the need for a more diverse group of people to become school leaders.
“We thank them for engaging with them and their commitment to adopting an evidence-based approach.
“From my position on the conference stage, I saw a genuine desire to live up to what they said.”