Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

UCET Equalities Sub-group

12 January 2021

Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, the subsequent Black Lives Matter protests worldwide have provided the impetus for many organisations across the UK to re-examine their positions and practices with respect to race equality and racism. Schools, universities, the NHS and medical education have commissioned training and consultancy to instigate a more reflective and proactive approaches to interrogating the causes of racial inequalities within their organisations and have committed themselves to addressing such disparities through anti-racist policy and action.

Inequalities based on race, class, gender, ability, sexuality and other protected characteristics (and intersectionality) affect the learning trajectories of children and young people. Initial teacher education needs to better prepare pre-service teachers to understand the causes and effects of such inequalities and how to mitigate them through the process of teaching and learning. The terms race and racism have been expunged from ITE policy and most likely from practice, apart from institutions with staff who are dedicated experts within this academic area of study. The lack of preparation to teach in multi-ethnic classrooms as the pupil population becomes more ethnically and linguistically diverse is reflected in the low confidence ratings on the NQT survey questions related to these topics. UCAS 2019 data revealed the pitifully low recruitment of Black men into the teaching profession. As an institution committed to teacher education UCET should be asking questions, interrogating data and seeking to promote equality across the teacher education sector. UCET should be investigating questions (here the focus is on race, but these questions can be applied to other protected characteristics) such as:

  • How many people of colour enter the profession?
  • What are the attrition rates on ITE programmes for student teachers of colour?
  • Who is represented?
  • Who is under-represented in the teaching profession? Why? What can be done within ITE to promote and ensure equity?
  • What is the progression rate of NQTs of colour through the profession?
  • How long do teachers of colour stay in the profession?
  • What are the wastage rates by ethnicity within ITE? Within the profession?
  • If there is a greater emphasis on school-based ITT then what will be the impact on the composition of the profession with respect to ethnic diversity?

The UCET Inequalities sub-group would:

  1. identify and monitor inequalities across the sector;
  2. identify policy and practices which establish and perpetuate inequalities;
  3. initiate and lead improvements to address inequalities within ITE.

This sub-group would be comprised of colleagues from each of the UCET Committees who are experts or have an interest in addressing inequalities within ITE.

The group would undertake to:

  • Establish baseline data with respect to inequalities related to key protected characteristics.
  • Monitor the equalities data annually.
  • Raise awareness of inequalities and identify good practice within the sector.
  • Instigate investigations to examine how inequalities within ITE can be addressed.
  • Provide training for providers in relation to addressing inequalities within ITE to identify equitable institutional processes and outcomes.
  • Provide leadership on inequalities for the sector by lobbying policy-makers to instigate change to policy and practice.