‘The story of Wales is the story of its people’. Wales is a land of rich cultural diversity, yet this diversity is not being reflected in the schools. According to the Welsh government statistical data, Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) teachers have notably low representation in Welsh schools, as less than 1% of teachers are from BAME backgrounds. It is well evidenced that a diverse education workforce is important for students to gain all-round development, improving graduation and college-entrance rates (Villegas and Irvine, 2010). More importantly, teachers with a diverse background are more likely to address racism and bias in the classroom, and so better prepare students for a diverse global context (Grissom and Redding, 2016). Therefore, it is crucial that the voice of BAME teachers be heard and recognised in the schools.
In light of this context, this study will focus on the reasons for and impact of the underrepresentation of BAME teachers in Welsh schools, with the further goal of seeking potential solutions that would lead to increasing diversity and promoting inclusion. In order to answer the research aim, this research will explore how BAME teachers and students make sense of their cultural and linguistic identities; how White teachers interpret and respond to the linguistic and culturally expressions of BAME teachers and students; how BAME teachers and students report and interpret responses to their cultural expression; and what factors affect BAME teachers and students’ self-perceptions and choices.
This research will shed light on the role of social inclusion and diversity as the powerful tool to ‘build a society for all’. It is globally recognised that fostering cultural awareness and sensitivity in the classrooms is significant, as it not only provides students with a wide range of experiences of cultures, but also enhances their perceptions and responsibilities as global citizens. This study will provide evidence for those aiming to tackle racism and prejudice in Welsh schools, as well as enabling education policy to be more visible and supportive to BAME teachers and students in Wales. Although the movements such as Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate are arousing the consciousness of people to stand against racism and discrimination, stereotypes always appear in many different guises, verbal or non-verbal. Therefore, this research will provide an opportunity for all to take part in a reflective discussion and further learning about racism, discrimination and social exclusion.
Furthermore, this study will have implications on policy practices. By providing solid evidence of lived experience of BAME teachers and students, stakeholders can make efforts to ensure that the school recruitment, promotion and retention opportunities are more accessible for BAME teachers, which will allow them to act as role models for ethnic minority students. Finally, this study will contribute to pedagogical approaches by encouraging intercultural learning in the classrooms. As UNESCO advocates for building dialogues between students and different cultures that can make meaningful contributions to sustainable and tolerant societies, there is no doubt that teachers from BAME backgrounds can deliver more culturally responsive curriculums that allow students to develop intercultural competencies.