Increase in LGBT+ teachers ‘a sign of positive progress in schools’.
One of the largest graduate recruiters in the UK has reported on a rise in LGBTQ+ teachers training with them, rising to nine per cent at the beginning of the school year in September 2017.
This increase, up from five per cent in 2014, shows that schools could be taking a more inclusive approach to their roster of teachers when it comes to LGBTQ+ staff members.
Teach First, who have placed 11,000 leaders in schools serving low-income communities that’ve reached over 1 million young people since its launch in 2003, believe that by removing barriers for any group is a positive step and that LGBTQ+ teachers can help drive acceptance in schools.
It was recently reported that a third of LGBTQ+ teachers felt confident enough to “come out” to their fellow staff members but these new reports, alongside the recent Stonewall School Report 2017 that showed anti-LGBT bullying and language has decreased across Britain’s schools, highlights that the school environment could be changing for teachers.
The Stonewall Report did highlight that almost half of all LGBTQ+ pupils still face bullying at school, so having teachers on board that understand what its like to identify as LGBTQ+ is especially important.
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 LGBTQ+ 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, added that “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. 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.
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.