Susan Davis & Chantelle Haughton - Ethnic Minority recruitment to ITE and the teaching profession in Wales: an opportunity to have your say.
In January 2021, our multi-ethnic team at Cardiff Metropolitan University launched an important research project to evaluate ethnic minority (EM) recruitment into initial teacher education (ITE) and the teaching profession.
Within the UK, the under-representation of EM groups in teaching was initially highlighted in 1985 in the Swann report. There has been a long-standing concern about the under-representation of minority ethnic teachers (Carrington et al, 2000; HMSO, 1985). In Wales, the then General Teaching Council for Wales published a strategy for teacher recruitment and retention in 2003 which included the need to improve EM recruitment to teaching. It suggested that this would require more research, guidance and greater collaboration within the education sector (GTCW, 2003). More recently, Haque (2017) and Joseph-Salisbury (2020) have highlighted a persistent shortage of EM teachers in England.
In short, despite the issue of EM under-representation within teaching having been first raised nearly over 25 years ago, there has been little concrete change.
According to Stats Wales, (2020) 12 per cent of pupils aged 5 or over in Wales are from backgrounds other than white British. However, there are disproportionately low numbers of EM teachers in Wales in comparison to EM pupils. Across Wales teachers are less ethnically diverse than the pupils they are teaching with only 1.3 per cent of teachers in Wales categorising themselves as being from a non-white background. It is therefore clear that the Welsh teaching profession and Welsh universities need to embrace change and begin to provide equality of opportunity for EM ITE students, teachers and leaders. This issue needs to go back to basics, and the pro-active recruitment of a new generation of EM students onto ITE programmes (Egan, 2020) needs to be explored in depth.
How you can help
We have been capturing the views of serving EM teachers about their ongoing career progression and listening to learners aged 14+, to gain an understanding of their views of teaching as a possible career. This evidence we are gathering will inform the Welsh Government to determine the sort of changes that will be required to increase the recruitment of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students into the teaching profession.
Through our research, we aim to identify perceptions and opinions from a range of groups. We want to know:
- Are EM school pupils and students in further and higher education aspiring to become teachers? And, if not, why?
- What do EM applicants who were unsuccessful when applying to ITE programmes feel are the factors which led to their rejections?
- How do newly qualified EM teachers and EM teachers at various stages of their careers feel about their career progression?
- What do EM school leaders think about these matters and what particular issues do they encounter on career journeys?
Our research will reflect on and unpick elements of socially constructed layers of lived reality for participants (Garcia et al., 2015) and will aim to understand this complex dynamic, taking into account participants’ culture, background and lived experiences.
Conversations and focus groups form the basis of our investigations. We expect the data will lead to a virtual vision map, a collaborative document which we will present to the Welsh Government along with the final report. This will enable a decolonised approach to future policy development in Wales.
Our research will continue until the end of March 2021. We are keen to hear from you if you are from an EM background, either as a student (14+) who may or may not have thought about a teaching career, or a serving teacher or leader. We need your voice in relation to this research project. Please contact our research assistant,
- Egan, D. (2020) Ethnic Minority Recruitment to the teaching profession in Wales: Outcomes of a rapid review of background research evidence. Welsh Government.
- Carrington, B., Bonnett, A., Nayak, A., Skelton, C., Smith, F. Tomlin, R., Short, G., and Demaine, J. (2000) The recruitment of New Teachers from Minority Ethnic Groups, International Studies in Sociology of Education, 10 (1), 3-22
- Garcia, J. A., Sanchez, G. R., Sanchez-Youngman, S., Vargas, E. D., & Ybarra, V. D. (2015). Race As Lived Experience: The Impact of Multi-Dimensional Measures of Race/Ethnicity on the Self-Reported Health Status of Latinos. Du Bois review: social science research on race, 12(2), 349–373.
- General Teaching Council Wales, (2003) Action Plan for Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Wales. Wales: General Teaching Council for Wales.
- Haque Z (2017) Visible minorities, invisible teachers: BME teachers in the education system in England. Runnymede Trust and NASUWT.
- HMSO (1985) The Swann Report. Education for All. Report of the Committee of Enquiry of Children from Ethnic Minority Groups. London: Her Majesty’s Stationery Office.
- Joseph-Salisbury (2020) Joseph-Salisbury R (2020) Race and racism in English secondary schools. Runnymead Trust.
- Stats Wales.gov.Wales (2020) Pupil level annual census, September 2020. Available online at: www.https://statswales.gov.wales