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New analysis reveals stark diversity gaps in the teaching profession

Crop covid school

Early analysis released as part of an ongoing research project into the factors affecting the retention and recruitment of teachers has found diminishing levels of gender diversity among the teaching profession, and low levels of ethnic minority representation at both teacher and senior leader levels in schools.

Using the latest data from the School Workforce Census (SWC) Dr Joshua Fullard and Hettie Burn analyse the trends in the diversity of the school workforce in state funded schools in England since the 2010 public sector pay freeze. They find that the number of male teachers has fallen, and that 24.1 percent of schools do not have a male classroom teacher. Furthermore, 46.5 percent of schools do not have a male senior leader. The number of teachers from an ethnic minority background has increased year on year but the rate of change is slow and further work needs to be done before the school workforce is representative of the pupils they teach. 60 percent of schools do not have a teacher from an ethnic minority background while 87.8 percent do not have an ethnic minority senior leader.

Dr Fullard said: “Over the last decade teachers’ wages have fallen in real terms by more than 9 percent. Indeed, our recent evidence suggests that 3 in 10 classroom teachers would be financially better off if they left the profession. This may have implications for teacher recruitment and retention as well as the composition of the school workforce. Our analysis of the latest data shows a fall in male teaching staff and a lack of ethnic diversity in the teaching and senior leadership teams at many schools, especially in the North East and South West.” Gender Diversity

• The number of male secondary school teachers has fallen. Today the proportion of secondary school teachers who are male is at a record low (35 percent).

• 24.1 percent of state-funded schools (primary and secondary) do not have a single male classroom teacher. The issues are especially acute in the East Midlands where almost 1 in 3 schools do not have a male teacher.

• 46.5 percent of state schools do not have a male in the senior leadership team while 5.5 percent do not have a female in the senior leadership team. Ethnic Diversity

• The number of teachers from an ethnic minority background is increasing year on year but the pace of the increase is slow and there is a long way to go before the school workforce become representative of the pupils they teach.

• 60 percent of state funded schools do not have an ethnic minority classroom teacher. The issues are particularly acute in the North East and the South West where 81 percent and 80 percent of schools do not have a single ethnic minority teacher respectively.

• 87.8 percent of state funded schools do not have an ethnic minority teacher in the senior leadership team.

Options for Policymakers:

• Make teaching more attractive by increasing teachers’ pay and removing or reducing tuition fees for university-led teacher training routes.

• Commission research on potential barriers preventing ethnic minority groups from entering teaching or progressing to senior leadership roles within schools.

Read our Explainer on Does it pay to be a teacher?

Read about this research in The Observer