WHEN the statue of Betty Campbell was unveiled, Wales was proud, rightly so. Now, however, there is not one single black headteacher in Wales, an absolute disgrace.

Betty Campbell was the first black headteacher in Wales in the 1970s, working at the Mount Stuart Primary School in Butetown, Cardiff. She not only raised the profile of her school, but also of her community and the diverse heritage of Butetown.

11 per cent of primary school learners and 12 per cent of secondary school learners are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

While there is regional variation in the concentrations of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students, with areas like Cardiff and Wrexham having higher amounts of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students, and Anglesey having less, we need to ensure that not only are our young people in Wales seeing Black teachers but black headteachers in their schools and black leaders in our Welsh society.

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In 2020, a mere seven of a total of 3,443 serving headteachers or executive headteachers in Wales were from non-white minority ethnic backgrounds.

Local authorities that have the highest numbers of learners from non-white ethnic groups do not appear to be those with the highest numbers of non-white teachers.

Across Wales teachers are less ethnically diverse than the learners they are teaching. There is greater ethnic diversity among school learning support workers than among school teachers.

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It can be isolating to walk into a Welsh school and be the only staff member of colour, I know this from my own experience.

If our schools cannot recruit staff from more diverse backgrounds then that can instill further institutional racism in our schools.

This will perpetuate the notion that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are less educated. If they are not employed in our schools teaching then what is to say that the perception of our teaching workforce is not diverse?

The National Wales: Betty Campbell, who died in 2017, was Wales' first black head teacherBetty Campbell, who died in 2017, was Wales' first black head teacher

When Welsh young people imagine a teacher or headteacher, how often is that person Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic?

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So what can the Welsh Government do, in the case that they care enough for our young people regardless of their ethnicity?

Well they need to enquire as to why there are no black headteachers in Wales as well as talk to the current teachers of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background to understand how they can progress in their field.

Retention in the field of education is poor and this is one way we can help. We have a serious lack of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in leadership positions and on boards in Wales. Education is no different.

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I am heartbroken everytime I hear about the racism in our schools, everyone has a story, no matter if you are in Welsh medium or English medium, racism is a massive issue.

What is the point in teaching Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Welsh histories if students are not seeing Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic leaders in the present day?

The Labour Welsh Government in co-operation with Plaid Cymru need to care about these issues, not only if they want to eradicate institutional racism in Wales but also if we want to build an open, tolerant, informed and innovative nation.

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