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Teachers: Equality

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL2971, tabled on 11 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage schools to boost diversity among teachers.

Answered on

25 October 2021

It is important that teaching is an inclusive profession. Schools, and their leadership teams, should reflect their communities and their pupils.

Whilst the department knows that, in certain areas, the teaching profession is becoming more diverse, there is further to go to both attract and retain diverse, talented teachers and to support them as they enter the profession and develop their career and leadership journeys.

The ‘Teaching – Every Lesson Shapes A Life’ recruitment campaign is targeted at audiences of students and recent graduates and potential career changers, regardless of background, and we take every effort to ensure that our advertising is fully reflective of this across the full range of marketing materials we use.

In October, Apply for Teacher Training, the department’s new application service for initial teacher training (ITT) in England, was rolled out nationally. Apply has been designed to be as user-friendly as possible and has been extensively tested with a diverse range of potential applicants, to ensure it helps remove barriers to teachers applying for ITT courses. Apply will also allow us to collect more data and insight into candidate behaviour and the behaviour of providers of teacher training. This will mean we have a greater idea of where barriers may occur and allow us to develop and deliver policy interventions where they are most needed.

Alongside a focus on recruitment, it is important we retain people from diverse backgrounds. This will be supported by our work to ensure that all new entrants to teacher training have the best possible start to the early stage of their career.

The department has also developed programmes to support the school workforce, including the Early Career Framework reforms for those at the beginning of their careers and National Professional Qualifications, which are now freely available to all teachers in state-funded schools and 16-19 organisations.

The department understands that creating a culture of flexible working can promote equality of opportunity and diversity in the teaching workforce. We have taken action to expand and promote flexible working practices in schools, including through publishing a suite of supportive resources including guidance and case studies: We have also appointed eight flexible working ambassador schools to champion flexible working culture and share best practice at a local level: Alongside this, we are offering free training for head teachers in how to implement effective flexible working arrangements, and how to develop strategic approaches to flexible working.