According to new government backed plans, schools will be able to apply for £30,000 grants to plug so-called ‘diversity gaps’. After receiving the money, they will be obliged to promote members of staff who have benefited from the money, regardless of their ability.
The Department for Education has put aside £900,000 for the ‘Leadership Equality and Diversity Fund’, which will be run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
The aim is to bolster the number of teachers from various victim groups named in the 2010 Equality Act in senior roles in schools. The act lists so-called ‘protected characteristics’, including: age; disability; transgenderism and gender reassignment; pregnancy; race; religion; sex and sexual orientation.
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “Ensuring there are excellent leaders in our schools, to raise the standard of teaching and achieve the best outcomes for their pupils, is a key part of our ambition of extending opportunity to all.”
However, both Conservative and Labour MPs have criticised the instance of so-called “position discrimination”.
Conservative MP David Nuttall branded the fund “absolute nonsense”. He told the Telegraph: “Discrimination, positive or not, is still discrimination by its very nature. It means someone somewhere is being discriminated against.
“By definition it means that others who might be better qualified for promotion are discriminated against.”
David Green, the founder of the think tank Civitas, said: “I would abolish the whole thing, I think it’s profoundly misguided and the money could be better spent on providing more teachers for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”
He also explained: “The assumption behind the Leadership Equality and Diversity Fund is that there has been discrimination if there is not proportionate representation of any of the above groups in leadership roles.
“It is highly likely that this would include every school in the land. A law against discrimination is at least understandable if it relates to an ascribed characteristic that the individual can’t change (such as race), but it makes no sense if the protected characteristic is chosen.”