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Introduction

In 2019 the Welsh Government commissioned the Education Workforce Council (EWC) to undertake a review of evidence about ethnic diversity in the school workforce. The data showed a stark under-representation in the teaching workforce with only 3% of teachers identifying as being from an ethnic minority against a learner population of 12%. The EWC continued the review and submitted a final phase 3 report (awaiting publication) that included a series of recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider. In July 2020 the Welsh Government commissioned Professor Charlotte Williams to chair a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin in the New Curriculum Working Group. The final report of this group was published in March 2021 and this also included a series of recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider. A third report was commissioned from Cardiff Metropolitan University (awaiting publication) The Recruitment and Retention Of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Teachers in Wales - A Qualitative Research Study which provided further recommendations.

There was a synergy across the three reports around many of the issues and given the need to address the situation urgently this plan has drawn upon the recommendations around Initial Teacher Education (ITE) to set out an initial series of actions that can be undertaken in the short term. Further steps will need to be developed and undertaken in line with the recommendations for other sectors in the Education system.

Context

Attracting more teachers from ethnic minority communities will require concerted actions across the whole Education sector, by a wide range of organisations, over a period of several years.

This plan focuses on what can be done to support increasing recruitment onto ITE programmes.

Additionally this plan is not designed to address only the issues of representation in the workforce in those areas where the learner demographic has a higher proportion of pupils from ethnic minorities. Rather it requires a pan-Wales approach to increase ethnic diversity in the workforce across the whole of the country.

The plan will set out actions that have been identified as being deliverable in the short term and as such will be the first phase of a longer term strategy that will be developed alongside actions that will be undertaken in other areas.

The Welsh Government will continue to review progress and update this plan in line with developments in other areas of the Education sector.

Key themes

From the research that was undertaken three key themes emerge:

Promotion of teaching as a career to individuals from ethnic minority communities

It is evident that more work needs to be done to promote teaching as a career to those individuals from ethnic minority communities if we are to achieve a more diverse and representative workforce. There is a clear need to increase the visibility of ethnic minorities in ITE marketing materials as well as adopting marketing approaches that are targeted at ethnic minority communities alongside the much longer term impact of ensuring the curriculum for Wales for all includes Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities, Contributions and Cynefin for children and young people to aspire to be teachers. The Welsh Government, as part of its wider ITE marketing strategy, will develop targeted communications activity aimed at ethnic minority individuals. Alongside this there needs to be an increased role in the advocacy services provided by EWC. While there remain restrictions on the capability for EWC to deliver advocacy services on a face-to-face basis they should explore the options of strengthening these services using remote means. EWC has already arranged to host a webinar event in November 2021 designed in partnership with BAME Ed Wales Network and a series of four follow-up workshops with stakeholders to identify issues and to support potential developments in increasing representation in the workforce from ethnic minority communities. This will need to be built on to ensure that it develops into an ongoing process that helps raise awareness of issues and supports future policy developments.

The lack of an existing strategic approach to increasing representation in the workforce highlights the need for ITE Partnerships to develop recruitment plans that are specifically designed to attract ethnic minority students on to courses. These will be commissioned by the Welsh Government with a requirement for each ITE Partnership to submit their plans that will evidence the actions being taken.

One area that requires specific attention is increasing the number of ethnic minority students training to teach through the medium of Welsh. The Welsh Government, EWC and ITE Partnerships should ensure that actions on the promotion and marketing of careers in teaching include specific activities aimed at this potentially small but important cohort. The increase in Welsh-medium teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds will complement the Welsh medium strategy that is currently being developed by the Welsh Government.

Further work needs to be undertaken to ascertain the number of unsuccessful ethnic minority applicants to ITE courses and to ensure that this is not disproportionate to the number of applications. Although individuals applying for ITE courses or those already in the workforce self-identify as being from an ethnic minority community there is a clear requirement for more robust data to be collected. ITE Partnerships and EWC will consider the options on how to increase the collection of this data and encourage individuals to identify their ethnicity. ITE Partnerships should also work to collect available data on ethnic minority applicants and report the success rates of these applicants in being accepted on to courses.

The data on representation of ethnic minority communities in the workforce is key to assessing the impacts of the actions in this plan and also identifying the need for further actions. EWC will continue to collect the data as part of their annual education workforce statistics and will need to work to ensure that definitions used across various data providers is consistent. 

Educators Wales needs to ensure that the materials used to promote teaching as a career have an appropriate level of visibility and representation of ethnic minority communities and clearly indicate that teaching is a suitable profession, highlighting the positive impacts that having a more diverse workforce can bring to learners’ experiences and development.

The Welsh Government recognises that although this plan is specifically aimed at recruitment on to ITE courses there is a need to develop a pipeline of students who are seeking to enter the teaching profession. As well as the work that ITE Partnerships and EWC continue to undertake to promote teaching among existing cohorts in Wales and other parts of the UK, the Welsh Government will work with Careers Wales to promote teaching as a career to learners who are still at school and in particular to those from diverse backgrounds.

In recognition of the value and importance of ethnic minority teachers the Welsh Government will institute a new Professional Teaching Award Cymru category. The Betty Campbell (MBE) award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities, will be launched on 21 October 2021. This will also be inspirational and aspirational for children in school of all ages to see.

Support for students from ethnic minority backgrounds

ITE Partnerships should ensure that applicants from ethnic minority backgrounds receive appropriate support prior to applying for ITE courses. This will require the Welsh Government and other stakeholders from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities to work with ITE Partnerships to develop resources to support this cohort. There is a particular need to develop resources to support applications from those eligible candidates who are already in the workforce in a non-teaching role. The Welsh Government will work with ITE Partnerships and EWC to develop these and to ensure they are available on Educators Wales.

ITE Partnerships should also ensure that wherever possible recruitment panels for ethnic minority students should include a relevant representative. ITE Partnerships need to work with stakeholders to build up suitable panels. There is a need to ensure that there is a robust and meaningful feedback process for all unsuccessful applicants to ITE programmes and in particular for those from ethnic minority backgrounds. This will help those applicants to identify shortcomings in their applications and prepare them for any future application.

ITE Partnerships should also give due consideration to the selection of appropriate placement schools for ethnic minority students to ensure that these students are fully supported during school experience placements.

Continued support for ethnic minority students during the duration of their study is an important factor in ensuring that they do not become marginalised or excluded. ITE Partnerships will need to ensure that there are robust processes in place to provide this continued support and to ensure that any issues of discrimination are dealt with appropriately.

Initial Teacher Education programmes and policy development

Programmes of ITE are accredited against the Criteria for Accreditation of initial teacher education programmes in Wales. This is an independent process undertaken by the EWC. Programmes are accredited for a period of up to five years and the first of the existing programmes will be subject to re-accreditation in 2024. In preparation for this date the Welsh Government will undertake a review of the existing criteria and this will include strengthening and making more explicit the requirements for students to develop skills and understanding around race and inclusivity. 

To support this ITE Partnerships will undertake a review of existing practices within programmes and identify areas for improvement. EWC and Estyn should review their monitoring and inspection processes to ensure that the existing requirements in the accreditation criteria are being met and that the quality of provision is of an appropriate standard. Where opportunities for improvement are identified EWC and Estyn should work with ITE Partnerships to develop these.

Future policy developments will need to take into account the requirement to increase diversity in the workforce and also other actions across the Education sector. The Welsh Government supports the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Advisory Board that supports and provides advice on policy development. The Welsh Government will ensure that the membership of the Board includes representation to provide an ethnic minority perspective. In addition the Welsh Government will continue to engage with representatives from ethnic minority stakeholder groups to ensure that impacts of future policy developments are assessed in a collaborative manner. 

Summary of Actions

Welsh Government

Action

Target date

To appoint an ethnic minority representative on to the TRRAB.

Completed

To announce the introduction of an incentive scheme for ethnic minority student teachers including Welsh medium.

October 2021

As part of a general review of the ITE Accreditation Criteria to look at raising the visibility of issues around race and inclusivity.

December 2022

To include in allocations of ITE places a requirement for Partnerships to work towards a percentage of students being from a ethnic minority background.

November 2021

 Marketing activity will include targeted campaign work aimed at attracting ethnic minority individuals into teaching.

December 2021

Launch the Betty Campbell (MBE) award for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

October 2021

Ongoing collaboration with stakeholder groups to continue to develop next phases of the plan.

Ongoing

Work with Careers Wales to enhance activities in schools around teaching as a career and in particular for ethnic minorities.

March 2022

Work with the Open University to explore the demand for expanding the range of subjects available on the employment based scheme to attract ethnic minority support staff including Welsh medium.

September 2022

Set up a diverse working group with stakeholders to review progress against the actions and identify emerging requirements.

March 2022

ITE Partnerships

Action Target date

Develop and publish recruitment plans specifically to increase the numbers of ethnic minority applicants to ITE courses including Welsh medium.

July 2022

Review existing recruitment processes and interview panel arrangements.

December 2021

As part of the recruitment plan review and enhance the support arrangements for ethnic minority students at all stages of the application and study process.

March 2022

Review the application of the criteria for accreditation requirements in existing programmes and work with EWC, Estyn and stakeholder groups to strengthen and develop.

March 2022

Work with EWC to develop reporting of ethnic minority applications and acceptances on to courses as part of the ongoing monthly reporting process.

Monthly

Education Workforce Council

Action Target date

Continue to collect data on existing workforce and work with partners to increase self-identification from individuals.

Annual

Work with ITE Partnerships to develop reporting of ethnic minority applications and acceptances on to courses as part of the ongoing monthly reporting process.

Monthly

Work with Estyn, ITE Partnerships and stakeholders to strengthen and develop the application of the criteria for accreditation requirements in existing programmes.

March 2022

Continue to develop advocacy services particularly in relation to ethnic minority representation and including Welsh medium.

Webinar confirmed for 25 November 2021. Workshops will continue in early 2022.

Work with partners to ensure that promotional material on Educators Wales is representational of ethnic minority communities.

Ongoing

Ensure that Educators Wales provides clear access to guidance and information to individuals from ethnic minority communities as resources become available.

Ongoing

Estyn

Action Target date

To review inspection frameworks to ensure that the experiences of ethnic minority students in ITE are assessed.

January 2022

Work with EWC, ITE Partnerships and stakeholders to strengthen and develop the application of the criteria for accreditation requirements in existing programmes.

March 2022

Next steps

The Welsh Government will work with stakeholders to deliver the actions set out in this plan. A working group of stakeholders will be set up to review progress and develop and update the plan on an ongoing basis to ensure that emerging issues and developments are addressed. A review of the progress against the actions will be prepared by September 2022.