Socio-demographic composition of primary initial teacher education entrants in Ireland
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Heinz, Manuela, & Keane, Elaine. (2018). Socio-demographic composition of primary initial teacher education entrants in Ireland. Irish Educational Studies, 1-21. doi: 10.1080/03323315.2018.1521731
The homogeneity of the teaching profession is an international, as well as national, phenomenon. In an era of significant demographic change in schools and education policy development in Ireland and across Europe, the lack of solid data about the backgrounds of teachers and initial teacher education (ITE) applicants and entrants has hindered informed policy development, including in relation to ITE application procedures, selection criteria as well as teacher supply and demand. In this paper we discuss findings from the Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) national project. We present analyses of application (N = 2,437) and survey data (N = 530) to explore 2014 undergraduate primary (UG P) ITE entrants’ socio-demographic backgrounds. Key findings confirm that primary teaching remains a popular career choice attracting high academic achievers in Ireland. We note the continuing underrepresentation of males and of people from minority national and ethnic backgrounds. Roman Catholics and students without disabilities are overrepresented in the UG P cohort compared to postgraduate post-primary ITE cohorts and the general Irish population. Findings are discussed with reference to Irish and international literature on teacher diversity.