The number of male secondary teachers in England has fallen to its lowest proportion on record, according to new research which also highlights an alarming lack of senior teaching staff from ethnic minorities.
An erosion of teacher compensation has had “serious consequences” on staff recruitment and retention, as well as on the overall composition of the profession. The study found that men now make up only 35% of secondary school teachers.
There have also been revelations about the lack of ethnic minority teachers in senior positions in secondary and primary schools. Almost nine in ten (87.8%) state-funded English schools do not have an ethnic minority teacher on their management team.
The figures come from an initial analysis of the data by the University of Essex’s Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), which looks at pay and teaching conditions. He revealed that teacher salaries have fallen by more than 9% in real terms over the past decade, with recent evidence suggesting that three in 10 teachers would be better off financially if they left the profession.
The researchers suggested that men tended to be more mobile in the workforce and more sensitive to salary levels, meaning salary erosion led to a decline in the proportion of male teachers in secondary schools. The decline in enrollment is due to the departure of the most experienced teachers.
ISER has found that while the number of ethnic minority teachers is increasing each year, the rate of increase is slow. About 60% of state-funded schools do not have a single ethnic minority teacher.
The problem is particularly acute in the northeast and southwest, where 81% and 80% of schools respectively have no ethnic minority teachers.
Joshua Fullard, one of the study’s authors, described the under-representation of people from ethnic minorities as the “most striking and unexpected” element of the research.
“The pool of potential teachers – usually university graduates – is increasingly diverse, so we expect more teachers from ethnic minorities,” he said. “But we don’t really observe that. The causes are difficult to identify. The fact that the teaching is not particularly attractive will not help. Representation can also be an issue. If the workforce is predominantly white and female, people may think, “There are no people with my experience in this profession.”
Fullard called for making teaching more attractive by raising salaries and waiving tuition fees for university-run teacher education tracks.
The ISER study also contained a plea for formal research to be commissioned to examine potential barriers preventing ethnic minority groups from entering teaching or rising to leadership positions in schools.
Recruitment and retention problems are persistent in England. More than 30,000 classroom teachers leave the profession every year, while fewer people enroll in teacher training programs than are needed to replace them.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, the largest union for secondary school leaders, said the uplifting work of teachers was being overlooked due to falling salaries and added pressures.
“It is difficult to determine why fewer men are joining the profession and why more people from ethnic minorities are not,” he said. “However, it would certainly help a lot if more was done to make teaching an attractive career for people from all walks of life – by improving salaries, ensuring schools and colleges are properly funded and reducing the pressure on them.
“The government plans to raise starting salaries to £30,000 but at the same time is proposing to give below inflation salary rewards to senior staff which will make retention more difficult and potentially exacerbate teacher shortages .”
Mary Bousted, co-secretary general of the National Education Union, pointed out that one in seven teachers gave up during the year. “I think we’ve gotten to the point where you have to really, really want to be a teacher and nothing else to train yourself,” she said. “Most other professions aren’t like that. As for teachers from ethnic minorities, the education system is not separated from the rest of society. When you talk to black teachers, they say there are stereotypes. For example, they are responsible for behavior, but not for literacy. Their voices are not properly heard at school.
The Department for Education said: “Teaching staff are becoming more diverse – latest data showing 9.3% of teachers said they were from an ethnic minority, while 21% of postgraduate trainee teachers said the same . This is compared to 14% of people in the general population, but we know there is still a long way to go.
“We have introduced inclusive recruitment campaigns, scholarships and tax-free scholarships to encourage talented trainees from all backgrounds to teach key subjects, and removed barriers to initial teacher education to encourage candidates to apply. diverse backgrounds. Our 500,000 training programs for teachers at all levels of the profession will also help retain and develop the best teachers, whatever their background.