Mental health and wellbeing of ethnic minority teachers 

This report set out to understand how the wellbeing of ethnic minority educators compared with the wider population. 

News 18 January 2023 / 2 mins read

This report – made possible with the generous support of Wesleyan – set out to understand how the wellbeing of ethnic minority educators compared with the wider population. The research comprised of three focus groups, which were conducted by YouGov using its panel of education professionals. These included 26 teachers, middle leaders and senior leaders who identified as having ethnic minority backgrounds.

The results confirm many of the drivers of stress in the teaching profession, irrespective of race, including volume of workload, workplace culture and Ofsted pressures. The findings also clearly illustrate the differential experiences of Black and Brown and other ethnic minority teachers and leaders in schools across the country, including barriers to progression, tokenism and microaggressions.

Developed with insights from the BAMEed Network and Black Teachers Connect, the report explores the main drivers of stress among ethnic minority teachers, their experiences in the workplace and what needs to happen for real cultural change to take place.

In section two, we have set out to amplify the voices of research participants and to allow them to tell their story in their own way.

The Chartered College of Teaching and Education Support will hold an event on Thursday 2nd March with Professor Dame Alison Peacock and charity CEO, Sinéad Mc Brearty to discuss their latest research into the wellbeing of ethnic minority teachers. Participants will also have an opportunity to participate in a live discussion.

Sinéad Mc Brearty, Chief Executive of Education Support says:

"Racism has no place in schools or colleges. We all have a responsibility to understand how racism is experienced by colleagues, and to improve the system for everyone. 

Discrimination serves only to demoralise and ultimately drive good teachers out of the workforce.  This serves no-one, least of all children and young people. These findings point the way to simple, inexpensive strategies for improvement."

We have summarised our key findings of the report below. You can download a full copy of our report here.

Stress is a normalised part of being a teacher, regardless of ethnicity

“If I say I am stressed, I get told to leave school at 4pm - but still produce all the data analysis by 9am the next morning.”
Middle leader

Teachers from an ethnic minority background have to deal with the stress of teaching, plus the additional impact of racist and racialised experiences.

“I’ve purposely been singled out as the token Black teacher when visitors have been in school.”
Middle leader

Ethnic minority teachers call for much wider equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) training to create more inclusive cultures.

“I was told that I was supporting extremism - when simply we were visiting a Mosque to learn more about the religion for RE.”
Middle leader

Line management experiences are variable but getting it right can help with stress management.

“One of my AHT [Assistant Headteacher] colleagues often tells me I need to think more carefully how I portray myself ... as a Brown man. Sometimes I feel I have to work harder than colleagues to prove myself .... and actually similarly other ethnic minorities”
Senior leader

Notes to editors 

Thanks to Wesleyan for its generous support of this report, funding from which made the focus group activity possible. 

For further information on the focus groups involved in this report please see the methodology section. Definitions of the terms connected with race we have used throughout this report can be found in the glossary.

Our CEO Sinéad Mc Brearty is available for interview on request 

Education Support is the only UK charity dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of education staff in schools, colleges and universities. Our free and confidential helpline is available 24/7 to everyone working in education and is available UK wide on 08000 562 561.