How Wales aims to recruit more teachers from minority ethnic backgrounds

Financial incentives are among a raft of plans

A plan to recruit more Black, Asian, and minority ethnic teachers across Wales is being launched.

The Welsh Government will introduce financial incentives to help recruit more minority ethnic teachers.

It is part of a wider plan being published today that will focus on increasing diversity among applicants into initial teacher education courses.

Only 1.3% of school teachers in Wales identified as being from a minority ethnic background compared to 12% of learners, the latest Education Workforce Council Wales survey showed. That has been a pattern for years alongside repeated reports of racism in schools.

The Welsh Government’s plan will include targeting promotion of teaching as a career to more people from minority ethnic communities.

There will also be a requirement for initial teacher education courses to work towards the recruitment of a percentage of students from minority ethnic backgrounds.

For the first time additional financial incentives will also be introduced to attract more minority ethnic student teachers from 2022.

Incentives currently exist for subjects where there is a high demand for teachers, such as mathematics and sciences, as well as the Iaith Athrawon Yfory scheme to attract more Welsh-medium teachers.

The work is part of the Welsh Government’s response to recommendations from the working group which has advised on Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, contributions and cynefin in the new school curriculum led by Professor Charlotte Williams.

Education minister Jeremy Miles said: “It is vital that we increase the diversity of our teaching workforce to better support our learners.

“To do this we must understand the barriers which are preventing more people from minority ethnic backgrounds from going into teaching and take action to ensure those barriers are removed.

“It is simply not good enough that fewer than 2% of teachers are from a minority ethnic background. That is why we are launching this much-needed plan, so that we have a workforce that better reflects the population of Wales.

“Importantly increasing diversity in schools should not only apply to areas where there is a higher proportion of people from minority ethnic backgrounds but across the whole of Wales.

“This work is the first phase in the important work to increase diversity in our education workforce.”

The minister also announced a new award for this year’s Professional Teaching Awards Cymru. The Betty Campbell Award, for promoting the contributions and perspectives of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, will be awarded to an individual, team or school that has demonstrated an outstanding awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the classroom.

The award honours the late Betty Campbell MBE, the former head teacher at Mount Stuart Primary School and the first black head teacher in Wales.

Elaine Clarke, Mrs Campbell’s daughter, said: “The family is extremely proud and privileged to have this new Professional Teaching Awards Cymru category named after our mother who will be remembered in such a wonderful and iconic way.

“Our mum was very passionate about education and pioneering a curriculum that ensured children had the opportunity to access and embrace a rich experience reflecting their multi-ethnic identities and inspired them to achieve their dreams. To Betty the impossible was always possible.

“The award is a wonderful way to promote inclusion of all Black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups and we are sure the recipients will continue to be inspired, and inspire, future generations in the footsteps of our mother.”