Latest figures published by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), show that more than one in 10 new trainee teachers (12 per cent) have a BME background. This represents some 3,900 people – a 126 per cent increase in the number of BME trainees since 2001.
Although these figures demonstrate that the number of BME trainees is increasing, the TDA aims to improve the diversity of the teaching workforce so that it reflects that of the pupil population.
In particular, there is a specific need for teachers in maths and science, where ME candidates are already playing a significant part in meeting recruitment challenges, making up 14 per cent of trainee science teachers and 20 per cent of maths trainees.
There are many reasons why students and graduates should consider teaching. Teachers shape the next generation, and schools need to be able to draw upon as broad a range of talent and experience as possible. They make a genuine difference to the lives of children and, as a result, to the wider community. It is a creative and challenging career in which no two lessons – let alone days – are the same.
Teaching is also a career that pays well, with newly qualified teachers starting on a salary in excess of £20,000 or £24,000 in inner London. The pay scale for good, experienced teachers rises to £34,000 outside London and £41,000 in inner London. Pay can rise to more than £90,000 for head teachers, depending on the size of school.
There are a wide range of training routes available to suit personal circumstances including undergraduate, postgraduate and employment based courses which can be completed, full-time, part-time or flexibly. There’s also financial support on offer: eligible trainees on postgraduate courses are entitled to a tax-free training bursary worth £6-9,000, whilst newly-qualified teachers with a PGCE in certain priority subjects may be eligible for a ‘golden hello’ payment worth £2,500 – £5,000.
For a place on a September 2007 undergraduate or postgraduate teaching course, the TDA recommends applying now.