Teach First says doubling of its LGBT teachers shows 'progress' within schools

Teacher trainer says increase in LGBT teachers can help 'drive acceptance in schools'

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Teach First has hailed a near-doubling in the LGBT teachers within its intake as "a sign of positive progress within schools".

The teacher trainer says the proportion of new teachers who identify as LGBT in its cohort has increased from 5 per cent of those who started in classrooms in 2014 to 9 per cent who began at the beginning of this school year in September 2017.

In total, Teach First recruits around 1,400 teachers each year. 

Teach First said the increase was a "sign of positive progress within schools", and that "all schools should be creating a welcoming and accepting environment for LGBT teachers".

According to the charity Stonewall, anti-LGBT bullying and language have decreased across Britain's schools, but almost half of all pupils still face bullying at school

Teach First said that at a time when schools need to recruit more teachers, "removing barriers for any group" was a "positive step", and that LGBT teachers could help "drive acceptance in schools". 

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 LGBT 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, an LGBT trainee with Teach First, said: "I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to change lives, but still I felt extremely nervous about the idea of being personally out in the classroom.

"In my own time at school, I don’t remember hearing anything positive about LGBT people so I felt owed it to my teenage self to be the role model who was missing from my own education.

"Having run assemblies and staff training, I've been impressed by the level of acceptance and maturity from all the pupils. There are certainly still challenges and issues but I feel like things are moving in the right direction.”

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