A leading teachers' union is urging the Government to scrap plans for a cap on immigration because the union believes teachers from overseas help schools to combat racism.
Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT), will stress the vital role ethnic minority teachers play in promoting cultural awareness and racial harmony in UK schools. She will make the call at a conference later this week, supported by The Independent, aimed at promoting more global awareness in UK classrooms.
"We are dealing with serious issues like racism and Islamophobia," she said. "In multi-lingual and multi-faith classrooms, ethnic minority teachers have a vital role in promoting cultural and global awareness."
Many schools – especially in inner-city London – also rely on overseas teachers because they cannot recruit enough from the UK to cover staff shortages.
Ms Keates called for overseas teaching qualifications to be put on an equal footing with those in the UK so staff could gain qualified teacher status.
The Government introduced its immigration cap in July, limiting the number of non-EU immigrants this year to 24,100.