Educational Inequalities (BAME Communities)

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 2nd July 2015.

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Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East 9:30 am, 2nd July 2015

What steps the Government are taking to address educational inequalities experienced by BAME communities.

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education

We are determined to ensure that every child, regardless of background, is given an education that allows them to fulfil their potential, and that includes an understanding of fundamental British values. We have invested more than £6 billion in the pupil premium to date. Disadvantaged pupil attainment has risen, including among poor pupils from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Schools such as Whitefield infant school and nursery, which was recently rated as outstanding and which I visited with my hon. Friend Andrew Stephenson, have been part of that transformation.

Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer. Education in Bradford is at the bottom of the league tables, but it is much worse for those from the BAME community or working-class backgrounds who have to overcome further hurdles. Does she believe that, in order to make a positive difference and address the problem of educational inequality, there needs to be a change in policy? Will she work to make Bradford a pilot for reinstating the highly successful city challenge, so that we can reduce educational inequality in the city?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education

I am sorry that I missed the hon. Gentleman’s maiden speech, which I think he gave in the Education and Adoption Bill debate. I understand that he expressed very clearly, as he has again today, his passion for good education for all students in Bradford. He wants exactly what I want, which is educational excellence everywhere in our country. We have some fantastic schools and fantastic teachers, but they are not yet everywhere. I take his point about the attainment of those from black and minority ethnic communities. It is possible, as we have seen in other schools, for them to achieve very highly. We have spent £36 million in pupil premium funding in the past year in Bradford. I am very happy to hear more from him about how he would like to take this forward.

Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Equalities), Shadow Minister (Education)

Does the Secretary of State agree that to help address educational inequalities, more academics from BAME backgrounds should be present in our higher education system? Only 85 of the 18,500 professors in UK academia are black, and within that number only 17 are women. The statistics are equally damning in senior management roles, with only 15 black academics. What are the Government doing to boost BAME representation in our universities?

Photo of Nicky Morgan Nicky Morgan Minister for Women and Equalities, The Secretary of State for Education

The hon. Lady is absolutely right: there is a lack of diversity, and not just in higher education institutions; unfortunately, we see that in other parts of our society, too. Higher education is not within the Department for Education’s remit, but I would be very happy to talk to the Minister responsible for higher education. The hon. Lady is also absolutely right to identify the importance of role models. I am sure she will join me in recognising that in the recent Queen’s birthday honours list more than 51% of the recipients of honours were women.