Seminar: Increasing the Diversity of the Teaching Workforce

Date and time
Tuesday, 3 October 2023
13.30 - 15.00

Kedleston Road, Derby Campus
Kedleston Road
DE22 1GB

Visiting Scholar Assoc. Prof. Suzanne Rice, University of Melbourne

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Abstract: In discussions around teacher quality and school staffing, the diversity of the people we attract into teaching is often overlooked. Current teaching workforces in England and Australia show an overrepresentation of those from English-speaking backgrounds, women, those from middle-class backgrounds, and fully able people.  In Australia, there is also significant underrepresentation of Indigenous people and those who have grown up in rural and regional areas.

This presentation will discuss findings from research into policy initiatives to increase the diversity of the teaching workforce, funded by the Jack Keating Foundation. The research focused on 4 groups underrepresented in the teaching workforce: people from low SES backgrounds, those from rural and remote areas, people with disability, and Indigenous people. We conducted a scan of policies in England, Canada, Australia and two U.S. states to identify initiatives targeted at increasing the recruitment of people from each of these minorities, together with any evidence of efficacy. We also examined in-school factors and programs that support the retention of minority teachers in schools following recruitment.

We identified a number of promising initiatives, such as grow-your-own programs, that show evidence of increasing workforce diversity and also identified ways in which systems and schools can shape school environments to support and sustain a more diverse workforce. We noted problems with policy, notably an almost total absence of policies to recruit and support people with disability and a strong focus on supply issues. The report calls for a more proactive vision of the type of workforce we want for teaching, with policies that support this.

About the Presenter

Associate Professor Suzanne Rice is a member of the Youth Research Collective in the Faculty of Education at the University of Melbourne and was Associate Dean (Engagement). She has researched and published widely on teacher attraction and retention, career guidance and employability skills, youth pathways, and high-stakes testing. She led the establishment of the award-winning Master of Clinical Teaching (now the Master of Education in Evidence-Based Teaching) and is a member of the Melbourne College of Reviewers, an expert panel that supports University of Melbourne staff to strengthen further the quality and relevance of their teaching.