Shocking incidents of casual racism in Scottish schools have been highlighted in a landmark report on the lack of teachers from black and ethnic minority backgrounds.

In one example given to the report's authors a white teacher mentoring a talented ethnic minority teaching student complained to her university that she smelled of curry.

In another case a teacher at a secondary school with pupils from Pakistan, India and Syria was overheard by an ethnic minority teacher saying: “I think I am coming into a refugee camp”.

The Scottish Government-backed report, entitled Teaching in a Diverse Scotland, said the country’s education system could no longer shy away from addressing “racism, racial discrimination or harassment”.

It found the lack of diversity in the teaching profession was caused by a range of barriers experienced by black and minority ethnic (BME) people.

The report said: “The working group is concerned the depth of disparity of understanding and awareness of issues is acting as a major barrier to diversifying the teaching workforce.

“In our view, this ... is present throughout the arc of a teacher’s career from their experience of school as a pupil, applying to university teaching courses, student experience within programmes, seeking permanent employment and ultimately to applying for promotion.

“Being subjected to low level everyday racism in a school setting is impacting on ... morale, confidence and self-esteem.”

The working group report comes at a time when the proportion of BME teachers is in decline accounting for just one per cent of the total compared to nearly two per cent in 2011.

The last Scottish census recorded the percentage of people in Scotland from minority ethnic groups as four per cent.

The figures are even lower for headteachers and deputy heads with 0.6 per cent of the total working in schools from BME backgrounds.

Despite this, one secondary headteacher was quoted in the report stating: “I have no reason to think that promotion is more difficult for teachers from a minority ethnic background."

A primary headteacher said: "I don’t see that promotion is any more challenging for staff from minority ethnic backgrounds."

A key recommendation from the working group, chaired by Professor Rowena Arshad, Head of Education at Edinburgh University, is that the proportion of BME teachers should be at least four per cent by 2030.

Ms Arshad, co-director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland, said a lack of diversity had been a "persistent and long-term issue".

She said: "This lack of diversity is becoming increasingly pressing and visible as the pupil population in Scottish schools is getting more diverse.

"Research demonstrates that black and minority ethnic individuals overall are applying for teacher positions at a rate near, and often above, that of the wider population.

"However, it is not just a matter generating interest in black and minority ethnic young people to consider teaching, it has also to be about dismantling any barriers to recruitment, promotion and retention."

The report's recommendations were backed by John Swinney, the Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister, who demanded change.

He said: "Radically improving the diversity in Scottish teaching is not just good for society, the evidence shows it benefits pupils and schools.

"We must be absolutely sure there is no bias or complacency at every level, from our university admissions or teacher recruitment processes to promotion and progression."

Amongst the reports other recommendation's is a call for universities and council employers to improve support for minority ethnic students and staff "who may feel isolated".

By August 2019 curriculum body Education Scotland should update all leadership programmes to help headteachers understand the impact of "everyday racism, institutional racism or bias".

The working group wants schools to identify and encourage BME pupils who would make good teachers, while councils should "support probationer teachers".

Ethnic minority teachers who are ambitious should be encouraged to apply for promotion, the report said.