Today the teaching workforce is more diverse than ever before. This is having benefits for students in the classroom. Clearly, if you’re being taught by people with different viewpoints and experiences, you’ll have a more enriching education.
However, data shows that amongst others, ethnic minority teachers remain under-represented in schools, especially at a senior level.
According to the Department for Education (DfE), just 8% of teachers – and only 3% of headteachers – come from ethnic minority backgrounds.
“We want to see a teaching profession that prides itself on promoting a diverse workforce, that supports the progression and retention of all teachers, and that builds an inclusive environment for teachers and pupils where they can be themselves,” the DfE has stated.
But just what can schools do to promote diversity and inclusivity among their workforce? It starts with recruitment. Let’s look at some of the ways schools can do everything to attract the best candidates, regardless of background:
1. Write inclusive job descriptions
No school goes out of its way to exclude any candidates – that’s just not something that would be beneficial in any way. But it’s easier than you might think to inadvertently put off certain people from applying, just from the wording of job descriptions.
It can be tricky to recognise if you are using inclusive language in your job descriptions. That’s why tools like Ongig’s Text Analyser are extremely useful, helping you find and remove masculine words and other types of bias (race, disability, age, sexual orientation, mental health, and more) in your job descriptions.
2. Include the right stuff
In addition to getting the wording right, you might want to highlight some of the things your school is doing to promote diversity.
For example, perhaps your school has introduced more diverse texts and authors in English lessons. The education secretary Nadhim Zahawi recently applauded schools who did just that: “The English curriculum is a great example of how schools can tailor content to their students, as teachers have the flexibility to choose the books they want to teach.”
It’s all about painting your school as being progressive and inclusive.
3. Include a ‘positive action’ statement in your advert
A positive action seeks to make opportunities more transparent, accessible and inclusive of candidates based on evidence of disadvantage – it does not remove the need for candidates to demonstrate they are the most qualified for the job.
An example of a positive action statement is: “We particularly welcome applications from X candidates as our school strives to have our staff and employees mirror the diversity of our student population.”
4. Put as much emphasis on retention as recruitment
You can attract and employ the most diverse range of teachers but if your environment isn’t inclusive and welcoming, they won’t stick around. And you won’t be able to portray your school as an inclusive and diverse workplace to candidates with any conviction.
You need to guard against saddling teachers with stereotypical roles. In a 2017 survey by the Runnymede Trust of more than 1,000 black and minority ethnic teachers, the respondents reported they were most likely to be told to organise school events such as Black History Month, or tasked with behaviour responsibilities rather than being given more challenging teaching or leadership roles.
Given the difficulties of finding candidates from a diverse background, it’s well within a school’s interests to do absolutely everything it can to provide them with the platform and opportunities they need to grow and flourish.
While that’s on you, Eteach can work in partnership with you to deliver great teachers from all backgrounds. Our team of recruiters work year-round to engage with both the passive and active job seekers. When your vacancy arises, we will deliver the top teaching talent that's just the right fit for your role.