Teacher with Mediterranean and Jewish heritage is left bewildered as his trade union insists he is black – despite him telling them he is not
- EXCLUSIVE: Jason Wardill, 42, invited to a meeting of black teachers last year
- Design technology teacher tried to stop union referring incorrectly to ethnicity
- National Education Union treats black as a political term not African heritage
A teacher has voiced his bewilderment after his Left-wing trade union insisted he was black.
Jason Wardill, who is a design technology teacher, was surprised to be invited by the National Education Union (NEU) to a meeting of black teachers last year.
Mr Wardill, 42, is of Mediterranean and Jewish heritage and has been trying to stop his union referring incorrectly to his ethnicity ever since – with no success.
Jason Wardill, (pictured) who is a design technology teacher, was surprised to be invited by the National Education Union (NEU) to a meeting of black teachers last year
He says he feels its actions are ‘discriminatory’ against other ethnicities and religions.
The NEU – which has been at the forefront of the campaign to keep schools closed during the pandemic – says it treats black as a political term rather than a signifier of African heritage.
Therefore the term includes ‘all members who self-identify as black, Asian and any other minority ethnic groups who do not identify themselves as white’.
The NEU, led by Kevin Courtney (pictured), says it treats black as a political term rather than a signifier of African heritage
When Mr Wardill – who now works as an area site manager for an academy trust in Lincolnshire – contacted it to say he was not black, the NEU informed him that since he did not consider himself white, he had to be registered as such.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘It made me feel pretty helpless. BAME would be absolutely fine, as it encompasses everything.’
The union has been accused of putting political battles before the interests of pupils, bragging that it had ‘made the running in this crisis’ when schools across the country were shut and children’s education was in tatters.
Mr Wardill said when he registered to join the union and was asked for his ethnicity, he ticked ‘mixed other’ because it was ‘the only option available for me’.
The NEU, led Dr Mary Bousted (pictured), has been involved in multiple rows with the Government this year over the closure of schools
‘Jewish was an option in the religion section only, which leads me to believe the NEU doesn’t recognise Jewish as a race. They only appear to recognise it as a religion,’ he commented.
‘They said they could put an asterisk next to black to show it was political. I said that shouldn’t make a difference, because I am not black.’
He added: ‘I don’t feel that a black member would necessarily want me down as a black member, and rightly so.
‘I think the union are more obsessed with political arguments than they are about their members.’
A spokesman for the NEU said it ‘uses the term ‘black’ when communicating about some union activities to members who self-identify as black, Asian or any other minority ethnic groups who do not identify as white.
‘There are also other times and projects, events or policy initiatives where we would engage specific groups of members such as Asian women members, Jewish members or Roma groups.’
Mr Wardill, 42, is of Mediterranean and Jewish heritage and has been trying to stop his union referring incorrectly to his ethnicity ever since – with no success
The NEU – led by Kevin Courtney and Dr Mary Bousted – has been involved in multiple rows with the Government this year over the closure of schools.
Earlier this month it said teachers should be prioritised for vaccines before next term, while pupils should be taught online well into January.
It went on to blame the disruption to education on high levels of staff self-isolation in a letter to Boris Johnson.