Church colleges slow to recruit non-whites

13th October 2000 at 01:00
Most Anglican training colleges fail to meet the national average for black and Asian recruits, reports Karen Thornton

The Church of England's teacher training colleges have a poor record of recruiting ethnic-minority students but are better than average at attracting men into primary teaching, new figures show.

Only two of the church's 11 colleges in England - the Urban Learning Foundation in east London, and the University of Surrey, Roehampton - have consistently exceeded the 5 per cent national average for recruiting primary teacher-training students from ethnic minorities.

One - Ripon and York St John college - has no record of training any students from ethnic minorities.

Canon John Hall, the Church of England's education director, said the recruitment issue was a problem for all training institutions.

"The church colleges wouldn't expect to have a simple solution that the others haven't got. But it's one we take seriously and are working at hard.

"The Urban Learning Foundation is an initiative developed by five church colleges and has the best record overall of bringing minority-ethnic students into the teching profession, and we are very proud of that."

He said that an expansion of the existing scheme in east London, or its extension to other urban areas, might well be on the cards.

The issue is also likely to be discussed by Sir Ron Dearing, who is working on proposals for expanding the number of Church of England schools.

The Church is keen to exploit opportunities to help failing schools. It was announced this week that the Church of England St David and St Katharine high school, in the ethnically-diverse north London borough of Haringey, is to become one of the first city academies.

The proposals involve a substantial refurbishment of existing buildings, with the church and a charitable trust providing pound;600,000 of the estimated pound;3 million total.

Meanwhile, Church of England colleges are doing much better than their secular counterparts when it comes to getting men into primary teaching. Only two of the 12 - Cheltenham and Gloucester, and King Alfred's in Winchester - fall below the male teacher recruitment average for all training institutions this year.

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