Education charity Teach First has released new figures showing a near-doubling of LGBT+ teachers within its intake.
The proportion of new teachers training with the charity who identified as LGBT+ has increased from 5% of those who started in classrooms in 2014 to 9% who joined at the beginning of this school year in September 2017.
Teach First is one of the largest graduate recruiters in the UK, recruiting around 1,400 teachers each year, equivalent to one in twenty of all new teachers in England and Wales.
The charity says the increase is a sign of positive progress within schools, and that all schools should be creating a welcoming and accepting environment for LGBT+ teachers. The Stonewall School Report 2017 shows anti-LGBT bullying and language has decreased across Britain’s schools, but almost half of all LGBT pupils still face bullying at school.
At a time when schools need to recruit more great teachers, Teach First says removing barriers for any group is a positive step and that LGBT+ teachers can help drive acceptance in schools.
Patrick Dempsey, Recruitment Diversity Lead at Teach First, said:
"We want all young people to have access to brilliant and inspiring teachers from all backgrounds, and that means we need to make sure we’re recruiting a diverse workforce.
“Being an LGBT+ teacher can be challenging, but few other careers offer this reward. Many participants tell us they want to be the visible LGBT+ role models that they never had at school. It’s important we make sure that all schools are creating a welcoming and accepting environment for staff of all backgrounds so young people are not losing out on potentially great teachers.”
James, a new-trainee with Teach First, said:
“I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to change lives, but still I felt extremely nervous about the idea of being personally out in the classroom. In my own time at school I don’t remember hearing anything positive about LGBT+ people so I felt owed it to my teenage self to be the role model who was missing from my own education. Having run assemblies and staff training, I've been impressed by the level of acceptance and maturity from all the pupils. There are certainly still challenges and issues but I feel like things are moving in the right direction.”
Teach First is a salaried route into teaching, which combines teacher training within schools serving disadvantaged communities with leadership development. The charity's two-year programme is becoming an increasingly attractive route for career changers as well as graduates. Last year over 30% of Teach First’s teachers came from other careers – the highest share in the organisation’s history.
Participants complete a five-week summer training residential in universities and schools, before teaching a reduced timetable in year one while they work towards becoming a fully qualified teacher and gaining a postgraduate qualification in year two. They are supported throughout their two years by Teach First, a school mentor and a university tutor.
Time is running out to apply for the 2018 cohort and anyone thinking of making a step into the classroom is encouraged to start an application as soon as possible at https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/our-programme.
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Notes to editors
%s are of those who disclosed their sexuality to Teach First. In 2017 10% did not disclose.
Case studies and further information is available from Joe Sparks via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0203 841 8483.
About Teach First
We believe that disadvantage should not determine destiny. Our vision is that no child's educational success should by limited by their socio-economic background.
Our charity invests in the power of people to change the lives of children from low income backgrounds by:
- finding and developing great people to teach and lead in schools facing the greatest challenges
- increasing the attainment and aspirations of pupils and their access to higher education and employment; and
- building a movement of teachers, school leaders, social entrepreneurs, policy makers and business people who are committed to ending educational inequality.
Since 2003, Teach First has placed 11,000 leaders in schools serving low-income communities, reaching over 1 million young people.