A scheme offering schools £30,000 to hire and promote gay and transgender teachers has been slammed by critics as being ‘profoundly misguided’.
The Leadership Equality and Diversity Fund, backed by the Department for Education, will provide training to existing staff, or recruit new staff, in an effort to promote diversity within schools.
Applications are encouraged on the basis of ‘protected characteristics’, as outlined in the Equality Act 2010, which include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief and sex.
The £900,000 fund accepted applications for the first time this year, following a pilot scheme in 2014/2015.
However, critics say the scheme promotes teachers on the basis of diversity, rather than skill.
The fund, run by the National College for Teaching and Leadership, was also set up to specifically promote black and minority ethnic teachers and women, but the grant has also been used to recruit more male teachers.
David Green, founder of the Civitas think tank, called for the diversity funding scheme to be abolished
David Green, founder of the Civitas think tank, told The Sunday Telegraph that the scheme was flawed and assumes there is discrimination if the above groups are not proportionately represented in leadership roles.
He said: ‘It is highly likely that this would include every school in the land.’
Mr Green added: ‘I would abolish the whole thing.
‘I think it’s profoundly misguided and the money could be better spent on providing more teachers for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.’
Meanwhile David Nuttall, Conservative MP for Bury North, said the fund is ‘absolute nonsense.’
Lucy Powell, Labour shadow education secretary added her concerns about the scheme, saying that the money allocated for the fund could be better spent elsewhere.
In a statement, the Department for Education told MailOnline that it was ‘nonsense’ to suggest staff are promoted on the basis of diversity rather than skill.
It said: ‘This programme encourages able teachers with potential, who might otherwise not have the confidence to compete for such roles without targeted intervention, to move into leadership roles.
‘It is absolute nonsense to say that the people involved are promoted on the basis of diversity – all participants who apply for leadership roles must show they are the best person for the job to be successful.
‘Participants do not have to be promoted within 12 months, they compete for leadership roles on the same basis as other applicants, and will only succeed where they are the most suitable person for the role.’