ETHNIC minority families have accused Glasgow City Council of failing the city's diverse pupils.

Two petitions have been set up calling on education bosses to protect the teaching of Urdu in city schools and ensure pupils have role models from minority communities.

Organisers claim the city has made strides in other areas but is lagging with no Black and Ethnic Minority (BME) head teachers.

Hundreds of families from the Pakistani and Kashmiri communities have now signed the call to Chief Executive Ann Marie O'Donnell.

The first petition, organised by dad Waheed Shad, reads: "Glasgow is an increasingly diverse and welcoming city.

"There is a growing disquiet among Glasgow's diverse children and families due to the general lack of visible staff and, in particular, promoted posts in Glasgow schools and as head and deputy head teachers.

"Over the past 10 years there have been progress in achieving gender balance in secondary head teachers.

"Equally other equalities have been progressing in schools, however, race related disadvantage requires urgent attention in line with legislation.

"Apart from the lack of Black and Ethnic Minorities, there needs to be a clear policy on equality issues including racist incidents in schools and tracking of incidents."

A second petition asking the council to protect Urdu in Glasgow schools has been organised by Khadija Mohammed, chairwoman of Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), and Nighet Riaz, of the School of Education at the University of the West of Scotland.

Urdu has been taught in Glasgow classrooms as a modern language for the past 30 years.

But a lack of qualified teachers has made organising classes difficult.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “We have already been in contact with individuals and organisations who have started the petition to say that we share the view that Urdu should be valued and taught in the same way as other modern languages.

"Maureen McKenna has offered to meet the person who submitted the petition to discuss the issues that have been raised.

“However, we are aware that staff absences has had an impact on the teaching of Urdu in one school in recent months.

“Like all other councils in Scotland, the council is currently finding it difficult to recruit teachers in a range of subjects.

"However, that does not mean we are not committed to making those subjects, including Urdu, available to pupils."

Soryia Siddique, Labour spokeswoman for schools and further education, said: "I have received a petition in relation to the general lack of visible minority staff and in particular in promoted posts in Glasgow Schools and as Head/Deputy Head teachers.

"There are also concerns regarding Urdu staffing and language reduction in schools.

"Glasgow is a welcoming city and increasing in diversity.

"It is reasonable to request the classrooms and staffing in Glasgow schools to be reflective of the make up of the city and Urdu to be considered a modern language.

"I have asked the Chief Executive to provide an update from the investigation into the points raised by the petitioners."

The council spokeswoman added: “The Scottish Government has recently established a short term working group on diversity in the teaching profession, chaired by Professor Rowena Arshad of the Moray House school of Education and our Executive Director of education is a member of that group.

"The group is considering nationally what needs to be done to increase the ethnic diversity of the teaching profession.

“The aim of the group is to contribute towards an improvement in the ethnic diversity of teachers in Scotland and Glasgow.”