Figures from the Department for Education (DfE) show that just 2.4 per cent of headteachers are from Black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds, while only 36 per cent of secondary heads are women.
The grants are to come from the government’s Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund, which is administered by the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL), and the funding is intended to support “local, school-led initiatives”.
The Fund has been running since 2014, with 30 lead schools (20 secondary, 10 primary) having already received financial support for diversity leadership projects. Education secretary Nicky Morgan now wants more schools to apply.
However, while welcoming the funding, leadership union AMiE, part of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, questioned whether the NCTL was passing its responsibilities onto schools.
Peter Pendle, chief executive officer of AMiE, said: “We welcome the move to address the supply of under-represented groups in school leadership positions.
“However, this work needs to be closely evaluated for effectiveness as it has all the appearance of the National College simply passing its responsibilities onto schools using the ruse of support for a ‘school-led system’. While these grants may lead to improvements locally there needs to be a national strategy to ensure that success is not patchy and the chances of potential leaders are not dependent on a postcode lottery.
“More also needs to be done to encourage governors to be more open to selecting appropriately qualified school leaders from under-represented groups for headship roles.”
Ms Morgan said: “Good school leadership teams should also reflect the diversity of the teaching profession and recent figures show that there are still significant gaps – particularly for BME individuals and women.
“That is why I want to urge more schools to bid for funding of up to £30,000 to support school-led initiatives to help boost diversity in senior leadership teams and unlock untapped potential.”
For more information on the fund, visit www.gov.uk/equality-and-diversity-funding-for-school-led-projects