Growing Black Talent in the Education Sector

1-2 minutes

In this blog, you will learn

It’s Black History Month, an annual celebration which aims to promote the contributions of black people and encourages more conversations to encourage diversity and a better understanding of black history.

Black History Month honours the achievements and contributions of black people but also highlights the changes that still need to be made despite improvements. It gives us the opportunity to recognise racial inequality and make changes and improvements in order to be more inclusive and diverse. 

Black History Month is a great time to focus on finding and growing black talent in the education sector. It is important to improve diversity and inclusion in hiring and employment practices to promote the professional growth of black educators. The teaching of black history shouldn’t end with Black History Month, more efforts and practices are needed to encourage the inclusion and growth of black talent in the education sector.

Why it’s important to improve diversity in the education sector

Improving opportunities for black talent and closing the ethnicity pay gap is essential to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. According to a 2023 House of Commons research briefing, people from black, asian and other minority backgrounds in the UK face more challenges in finding and retaining employment. 

Unfortunately, there is still a lack of diversity in the education sector with few opportunities to progress. The adults who are responsible for children’s care and education are still not representative of their community. According to a survey by Edurio, just under half of school staff consider their workplace to be diverse and only 28% of respondents felt that their leadership team is diverse.

Durham University’s Evidence Centre for Education revealed that pupils in parts of England are likely to never have a Teacher of the same ethnic background, in part because minority ethnic applicants are less likely to be accepted on teaching training courses, interviews or promotions. The research suggests that if pupils are not taught by someone who sounds and looks like them, it could affect pupils for things like suspensions and exclusions, absence and aspirations.

Black representation within the education sector is important to allow pupils to feel represented and thrive. Having a diverse and positive role model and visibility is key to building empathy, respect and a sense of community for children. A lack of representation can negatively affect their ideas about black Teachers and educators. They in turn will not be motivated or inspired to teach, which continues the lack of representation. 

One of the challenges facing black talent in education is racial disparity in the recruitment process, with many feeling that they have few opportunities to grow or get a teaching job based on their race.

Black educators can feel isolated, underappreciated and that there are no opportunities for career progression for themselves. Most leadership roles such as Headmasters are by white people, with black talent being overlooked in favour of white Teachers. There are fewer black or ethnic minority groups in leadership roles compared to white.

It’s important to demonstrate diversity and inclusivity to teach children to understand differences and treat everyone equally. The importance of teaching children while they're young, open-minded and at their most open to learning, will help to make them more empathetic, understanding and appreciative of different cultures and experiences.

Ways to find and grow black talent in the education sector

Finding and nurturing black talent in the education sector is crucial for fostering diversity and ensuring equal educational opportunities. Meaningful action is required to address the need for black professionals in education and to ensure that black educators are given equal opportunities to grow.

In order to address the challenge of the under-representation of black talent and improve opportunities, it’s crucial for practices to prioritise diversity and inclusivity. There are many initiatives and strategies to ensure black talent feel empowered in the education sector. 

Here are several steps for the education sector in recruiting more black talent and helping them to grow their careers:

1. Diverse hiring practices

Actively hire a more diverse workforce and implement inclusive hiring practices that actively seek out black educators, administrators, and support staff.

Ensure a diverse representation at interviews or on panels to target a more diverse pool of candidates and minimise bias.

Consider diverse advertising in local schools or colleges with high percentages of minority ethnic students, or through organisations that specifically target these groups such as BME Jobs, the Black Young Professionals network, and Diverse Jobs Matter.

2. Partner with black professional organisations

Collaborate with black professional organisations and associations related to education.

Establish partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to recruit teaching candidates.

3. Scholarships and grants

Establish scholarships, grants, or financial aid programmes aimed at supporting black students pursuing careers in education. These programmes can help alleviate financial barriers and encourage black individuals to enter the field and could result in a successful, well-grounded career with plenty of skill, experience and opportunity to grow within the education sector.

4. Create a mentoring and leadership programme

Develop mentorship programmes where experienced educators or administrators mentor aspiring black educators.

A strong mentoring scheme can provide support, advice, upskilling, and a positive presence as the young person transitions into the world of work.

Through working with schools, create leadership development initiatives to prepare black educators for leadership roles within the education sector, for example becoming a Headteacher.

Students who benefited from the scheme will be aware of your organisation and think of you when the time comes for them to apply for work creating a pipeline of potential future employees.

A good mentoring scheme can be a great selling point to ambitious young people from minority backgrounds who are looking to advance in their careers.

5. Inclusive curriculum and teaching materials

Ensure that the curriculum and teaching materials reflect diverse perspectives, including those of black individuals and communities. We recently highlighted 10 black educators who changed history on our blog.

The 2023 Pearson School Report found that 10% of Teachers believe the education taught in schools today reflects the diversity of pupils’ lives and backgrounds. As a result, 64% of students agree that they learn better if they see people like them/from their background reflected in what they learn at school.

This can contribute to a more inclusive learning environment and encourage black students to consider careers in education.

7. Cultivate inclusive school cultures

Foster inclusive and anti-racist school cultures that value and celebrate diversity.

Provide professional development on culturally responsive teaching practices. This will allow black talent to pursue their careers further and develop their skills to work in leadership roles.

8. Networking and community engagement

Attend conferences and events hosted by black professional organisations to connect with potential black talent and build supportive relationships.

Attend career fairs and campus events to engage with black students interested in education.

Encourage all Teachers, not just black educators to actively engage with the local black community.

Participate in community events, support initiatives, and build relationships with potential future educators.

10. Leadership development programmes

Create leadership development programmes specifically tailored to black educators and administrators that provide training in leadership skills, strategic planning, and decision-making.

Take positive action to support individuals from under-represented groups, in order to help align them in a more vantage position when competing for jobs or applying for developmental programmes and training.

Expand your talent management by offering training to support ethnic minority groups to their full potential and upskill all staff.

Education and SEND recruitment

As a specialist education recruitment agency, we’re here to support schools with their staffing needs and we’re proud to support black talent in the education sector as we understand the importance of diversity in the classroom. 

Searching for permanent or cover staff? Get in contact with our specialist education recruitment consultant, Jamie Heath on 01772 954200 now to learn more about the options and recruitment services available to you.

Education and SEND jobs

If you’re looking for a new career opportunity in education, browse our teaching jobs page or upload your CV now to be contacted about upcoming teaching career opportunities. 

Meet Jamie Heath

Who is Spencer Clarke Group?

Since 2017, we’ve been evolving our approach and commitment to recruitment to create a positive change and match perfect candidates with the perfect job. We are passionate about conducting our business with your best interests in mind by providing the best possible salary, prioritising well being and improving mental health. 

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