Does the Teaching Profession Have a Diversity Problem?

Research over many years has consistently shown that teachers and leaders from black and global majority (AKA BAME) backgrounds are underrepresented in the teaching profession. While this data has improved in recent years, the issue remains. It is important for ITTE providers to recognise the barriers that exist for black and global majority aspirant teachers applying to the profession. We must also examine why these applicants experience lower success rates than their white peers. UCL (2020) also report that 46% of schools in England have no black and global majority teachers.

Examining the teaching profession through the lens of other protected characteristics reveals the challenges that many other teachers face from minority or marginalised backgrounds. TES (2021) highlights the physical and mental challenges that disabled teachers face in the profession; Brett (2022) explores that anxiety that is often experienced by LGBT+ teachers; and EDT (2022) highlight the lack of representation of women in leadership, despite representing nearly three quarters of the teaching workforce.

Why Is it So Important to Ensure DEI Sits at the Heart of Your Teacher Training Programme?

The evidence suggests that teachers who belong to marginalised groups are underrepresented in schools and are likely to experience more challenging working environments. ITTE providers therefore need to think about the additional support that aspirant teachers may need before, during and after their initial teacher training year. Recognising that a model of equity rather than equality is needed, and that teachers from minority backgrounds may experience additional stress or challenges, is an important starting point for ITTE providers. DEI needs to lie at the heart of ITTE so all teachers can see a place for themselves in the profession, and as importantly, so they can create diverse, safe, and inclusive classrooms for their students.

The Diverse Educators’ ITTE Providers’ DEI Toolkit

You will find below a bank of resources to help you and your team as you examine your current provision and think about the ways DEI can be prioritised to ensure all trainees feel supported and included. Some questions to think about may include:
  • Is there a person who is responsible for DEI within your ITTE organisation? Do they have time and remuneration for the position?
  • Do you have a DEI objective on your improvement plan?
  • Do you know which of your trainees have a protected characteristic or belong to a minority group?
  • How do you communicate your commitment to DEI to prospective applicants?
  • Are there safe spaces for teachers from minority groups to attend?
  • Are your policies and documentation inclusive?
  • Do school mentors receive DEI training or support
  • Are you sending trainees into schools where they will be safe and supported?
  • Does your curriculum include and celebrate a broad range of diverse voices?

Please go to to see the full toolkit plus articles, blogs, book links, good practice, podcasts and more.