Celebrating Diversity

Twenty years ago this autumn, the then Teacher Training Agency (TTA) launched an advertising campaign to attract new recruits to train as a teacher. There were two adverts. The talking heads one with the strap line, ‘no one forgets a good teacher’ remains memorable, but the other, although more innovative as an advertisement, doesn’t register in the collective memory to the same degree. In a sign of how far society has changed since 1997, when published, neither advert contained either a web site or email contact address; unthinkable these days.

At the same time the TTA was launching its advertising campaign it was also starting its first drive to recruit minority groups into teaching, starting with a focus on ethnic minority groups. There were a series of conferences to launch the policy, including one in East London addressed by the new Minister, Estelle Morris, newly launched on her career in government.

A decade later I conducted a detailed study for the then TDA into progress in recruitment of minorities into teaching and some years later I replicated the work just on the progress of recruiting ethnic minority candidates both into training and into teaching. As a result, it is interesting to see the data in the recently published ITT provider profiles about the change in percentages of minority groups recruited into training. https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/initial-teacher-training-performance-profiles-2015-to-2016

n many respects, 2015/16 as a good year for minority groups seeking to enter teaching. The percentage of male recruits broke through the 30% barrier for the first time since 2010/11; the percentage of students with a declared disability increased to its highest in the past decade, to reach nine per cent of postgraduate students; similarly, students from a minority ethnic background reached a new high for the decade of 14% of postgraduate entrants. There was even an increase among older trainees over the age of 25, although, at 54%, is still well below the record 62% of trainees over 25 that was reached 2010/11.

How far these percentages reflect either a genuine change in policy or just the outcome of falling overall application levels isn’t clear from the data. An analysis of the provider data for trainees from an ethnic minority background, where numbers are large enough to be reported, shows that London providers dominate the scene, with half the top twenty providers with the best ratio of ethnic minority trainees to overall numbers of postgraduates recruited being located in London. Of the other ten providers, five are located in the West Midlands; two in Yorkshire and The Humber and one in each of the South East, East Midlands and East of England. There were no providers north of the West Midlands or in the South West in the top 20 providers for graduate trainees where data is reported. Indeed, six of the next ten are also in London and the first identified provider in the South West is only in the 39th highest position.

In this context, the reduction in offers to new applicants for 2017 by London providers, reported in previous blogs, will be watched with interest to see what effect it has on recruitment profiles. However, it won’t be until the summer of 2019 that we will know the outcomes.

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2 thoughts on “Celebrating Diversity

  1. John,

    The ‘Get Into Teaching’ campaign doesn’t appear to target older candidates so it’s interesting that the data tells us they’re being recruited in greater numbers.

    • John,

      The latest DfE adverts for teaching seen this weeksays “My bursary was actually like a salary. It covered things like living costs and childcare for my daughter.” For those on £25,000 tax free, it is actually better than a salary, but that’s another issue.

      The picture in the press advert is of a young woman. Leaving aside the implications that seem similar to the Ministry of Deference advertising for engineers using just images of men, there is also the fact the teaching advert refers to the quote from a Miss Parsons. If this is a recognition of the real world we live in, I wonder why the Conservatives have been so opposed to teaching PSHE in schools over the past few years in order to help young people come to terms with the changes in society they are witnessing.

      Of course, I am really worried about the loss of new young graduates from the profession as they provide the majority of future leaders. it may well be that faced with 40 years of employment to 67 or an even higher pension age many young people are delaying entry into the labour market and that increases the percentage of older applicants even if the numbers remain stable.

      John

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