Promoting Quality in Teacher Education

NFER: Ethnic Diversity in the teaching workforce: an evidence review

1 February 2024

The full report is attached.

Foreword from NFER

For too long, teachers of colour have been under-represented in the teacher workforce in
England. We need evidence-informed action to improve the recruitment, retention and
progression of teachers of colour.

NFER’s landmark 2022 study of racial equality in the teacher workforce, in partnership with Teach
First and Ambition Institute, identified the areas of the workforce where ethnic disparities in
progression are largest. While under-representation of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds
is most pronounced in senior leadership, our study found that this is driven by disparities
throughout different stages of progression, particularly in early career stages and initial teacher
training (ITT). Action is therefore needed to make progress towards achieving racial equality in

To support the sector in taking action, we have collaborated with Mission 44 on this evidence
review to identify promising approaches to improve ethnic diversity at all career stages. It draws on
a rich evidence base, including the lived experience of many people of colour in their education

This review shows there are promising approaches to improving ethnic diversity in the teacher
workforce. Some schools, ITT providers and other organisations have created positive and
equitable working environments for teachers and leaders from diverse ethnic backgrounds that it is
important to learn from.

It is crucial that alongside actions to address ethnic disparities in career progression in teaching,
the sector continues to learn from emerging good practice and generates the evidence base for
further action. NFER aims to develop that evidence base, so that decision makers have the
information they need to take effective action to address ethnic disparities.

Carole Willis, Chief Executive, National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER)