The educational charity Teach First says it has recruited the largest cohort in its history, with more high-quality trainees than ever before.
The charity has recruited 38 per cent more teachers than in 2018, with 1,735 trainee teachers starting work in schools serving disadvantaged communities across England and Wales in September.
This year’s cohort is also the most diverse in the charity’s history – 22 per cent of trainees are from BAME backgrounds compared with 15 per cent in 2015, and the charity has doubled the proportion of LGBT+ trainees, from 6 per cent of the cohort in 2015 to 12 per cent this year.
Teach First 'breaks records'
The number of trainees with disabilities has risen from 9 per cent in 2015 to 17 per cent this year, while the proportion of trainees who had attended a disadvantaged school themselves rose from 16 per cent in 2015 to 30 per cent this year.
By contrast, only 13 per cent of the teaching profession as a whole are BAME, while 34 per cent of primary pupils come from minority ethnic groups.
Teach First said there was no “magic bullet” used to achieve this change, but said it sought to make its cohort as diverse as possible to reflect the pupils in their classrooms.
The charity said it made sure that images and stories of its teachers used in marketing reflected the diversity of its trainees, and publicising stories of trainees who had joined the profession from “all walks of life” helped it to target potential trainees from a wider pool.
It also worked with groups and societies with a diverse membership on university campuses.
Russell Hobby, chief executive of Teach First said: "We’re delighted to have bucked recent trends with our record-breaking year of quality trainees.
“But with pupil numbers rapidly rising, this isn’t ‘job done’. We’re striving to make sure our teachers of the future truly reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.
“We know there are more people out there from all walks of life who could build a rewarding career in teaching, and we’re determined to find them.”