Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on research by the National Foundation for Education Research revealing that the most significant ethnic disparities in teacher career progression occur during early career stages.
“It makes uncomfortable reading to learn that, despite a very clear and obvious interest in becoming teachers from people from Asian, black or other ethnic backgrounds, there is a significant drop in acceptance rates when they apply for postgraduate Initial Teacher Training courses.
“There is obviously something wrong when figures show that acceptance rates for black candidates onto ITT courses are 21 per cent lower than for their white counterparts. There is still clearly more work to be done in making acceptance into teaching a level playing field for all applicants.
“It is also of great concern that there are substantial disparities in the progression of teachers from ethnic minority groups throughout the teacher career pipeline, resulting in significant under-representation at senior leadership level. It is crucial that we work together as a profession to address these disparities both in the interests of fairness and equality, and in terms of the message we send to children and young people.
“What’s more, we can ill afford to lose anyone from the teaching and leadership workforce at the moment. At a time when we are hearing growing anecdotal evidence about teachers and leaders becoming disenchanted with education to the point where many are considering leaving the profession early it is crucial that we do not place unnecessary and unfair barriers in the way of talented people wishing to begin or progress their careers.”