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No ethnic minority teachers in over half of primary schools, new data shows

New research from the University of Warwick has laid bare the scale of the diversity crisis in schools, with over half (55%) of primary schools having no ethnic minority teachers.

This number is barely changed in years, with this failure to make progress feeding into wider recruitment and retention issues for teachers.

The research also found that nearly a third (30%) of primary schools had no male teachers, with almost a quarter (23%) of schools in England having only white female teachers.

Assistant Professor Joshua Fullard of Warwick Business school, who tracks this data annually, said this year’s results showed things are not getting better: “Diversity in the classroom matters. We know ethnic minority students and young boys are missing out by not having teachers that represent them. This will worsen existing gaps in attainment and inequality in adulthood”.

“This data shows the highly limited progress being made on diversity in the classroom, with slow progress in achieving a representative pool of teachers. With recent research showing 3 in 10 teachers would be better off financially if they quit, it’s hardly surprising the pool of potential teachers is shrinking every year”.

Existing research has shown that children perform best educationally if they are taught by a diverse mix of teachers, with research showing that ethnic minority students did better academically with a teacher of the same race. The effect was particularly pronounced on lower performing students.

Recent statistics have shown the Government failing to hit targets for the number of teachers in training, with record numbers of educators quitting in 2023.

The research shows that the number of schools with no male teacher has risen over the last two years. It also found that the lack of ethnic and gender diversity is even worse in senior roles.

46% percent of schools did not have a male on the senior leadership team, whilst 88% do not have a senior leader from an ethnic minority background.

Men are less likely to apply to teacher training (roughly 30% of applicants are male) and are less likely to be placed into a teacher training programme (58% vs 65%).

Male teachers are also slightly more likely to leave the profession. Consequently, the proportion of teachers who are male remains at a record low (24 percent).

There are four Local Authorities where over half of the primary schools do not have a male teacher at all (West Berkshire, Northumberland, Cumbria and Windsor and Maidenhead).

Likewise, there are six Local Authorities where more than 80% of schools do not have a teacher from an ethnic minority background (County Durham, Cumbria, Isles of Scilly, North Yorkshire, Shropshire and York).

The full paper can be read here.