Everyone on Board: NGA gives support to the DfE’s intent to improve the diversity of the teaching workforce

11/10/2018

In support of our campaign to improve the proportion of people from ethnic minorities involved in school governance, NGA are delighted to be one of ten education organisations to be signatories to the Department of Education’s (DfE) ‘statement of intent’ on the diversity of the teaching workforce.

Coinciding with the government’s announcement on the Race Disparity Audit, the DfE has set out a statement, which highlights that whilst “today the teaching workforce is more diverse than ever before”, “data shows that amongst others, women and minority ethnic teachers remain under represented at senior levels”. Governing boards lack diversity: according to School Governance in 2018, 5% of school governors and trustees are from an ethnic minority compared to 14% of the general population and 26% of the pupil population.

Setting out its vision for diversity in the school workforce, the DfE says, “diversity within schools is valuable in fostering social cohesion and most importantly, in supporting pupils to grow and develop in an environment of visible, diverse role models” and wants schools to be an “inclusive environment for teachers and pupils to be themselves”.  To progress this aim, the DfE is calling for everyone in the school sector to play their part in driving this important change by “supporting the progression of all teachers and removing any biases in recruitment practice”. Over the coming months it will be consulting with schools, teachers, MATs and governing boards to understand what needs to happen to drive this change.

NGA in partnership with Inspiring Governance will continue to deliver its Everyone on Board campaign in pursuit of improving diversity in school leadership. Recognising the long-term issue of the under-representation of people from ethnic minorities on school governing boards, earlier this year NGA launched a campaign that set out to highlight to governing boards why it is important that they are diverse, and provides resources to governing boards to enable them to create this change. The campaign also encourages people from ethnic minorities and those aged under 40 to become a school governor or trustee by demonstrating how their skills and lived experience can make a valuable and significant contribution to schools and the pupils and staff within them. Since its launch in June 2018, over 300 people have volunteered because of the campaign.

The DfE has also announced £2m of funding for new nationwide equality and diversity hubs to support aspiring leaders, including those from ethnic minority backgrounds, into headship; and that equality and diversity will be a strand of its recruitment and retention strategy to ensure people from all background are supported and that barriers to their progression are removed.

Emma Knights, Chief Executive of the National Governance Association said: "For some time, the National Governance Association has been concerned about the underrepresentation of people from ethnic minorities on school governing boards as data from our annual survey has repeatedly shown a disconnect between the proportion of governors and trustees from ethnic minorities and the proportion of the population from ethnic minorities. We are delighted that the Department for Education and indeed the government as a whole is setting out this commitment to tackle underrepresentation both in the workforce and on governing boards. Diversity on boards makes for better decision making and will increase diversity across all levels of schools and trusts. This is important so that our increasingly diverse pupil population are better included in decision-making and have a stronger sense of belonging, with role models to grow their aspirations and belief in what they can achieve. Governing boards should reflect the communities they serve as well as the wider society in which young people live."

The other organisations supporting the DfE’s statement are National Association of Head Teachers, Association of School and College Leaders, Chartered College of Teaching, BAME Ed, Women Ed, LGBT Ed, Disability Ed, Ambition School Leadership and All-in Education.

The DfE is urging organisations that want to support its intentions to:

  1. State that they agree with the value of a diverse workforce in schools and the need to prioritise work in this space
  2. Commit to engaging with the schools sector to make the case for a diverse workforce
  3. Set out action that their organisation is taking to make the case and/or to support the progression and inclusion of presently under-represented groups

Organisations can share their intentions by contacting: Teacher.DIVERSITY@education.gov.uk.

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