Saffron Powell

Thesis Title: In what ways does initial teacher education (ITE) in higher education institutions in England prepare teachers for an ethnically diverse society?

Abstract: The need to develop culturally responsive pedagogy and practice is a longstanding challenge for ITE providers across England to ensure that teachers can better respect and address issues of race and diversity so they can empower all their students and prepare them for a diverse and multicultural world, as well as make provision for Black and Minority Ethnic students.

Persistent education-related issues in minority communities including underachievement, school exclusions, and lack of a diverse curriculum are yet to be prioritised in many English schools. The case of Child Q in 2020, ongoing hair discrimination of afro hair and hairstyles in schools, and Black A-level students being reported as most likely to have their predicted grades underpredicted by teachers are a tiny selection of the sinister ways that ignorance of teachers in these issues can, and still does, manifest itself in schools across England.

ITE courses responding directly to these issues is one way to address these concerns. Earlier efforts made to ‘foster richer understandings of race, racism…among those learning to teach’ (Hambacher & Ginn, 2020, p.11) have been perceived as treating ethnic minority students as ‘problems’ to be managed (Shain, 2013). There is now more recent evidence that ITE institutions recognize the need to address cultural diversity and race through more accurate, respectful content and appropriate curriculum materials, yet little is known about what is being used for pedagogy across ITE programmes in England. I believe that there is an urgent need for more research into current provision in ITE institutions to gain a detailed picture of this critical area so that provision can be evaluated and strengthened and my research will contribute to this area.

Primary Supervisors: Professor Meg Maguire and Dr Emma Towers

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Pathway: Pathway 6: EMS

Cohort: 2023-24