Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, Fifth International Conference on Higher Education Advances

Font Size: 
Diversifying Initial Teacher Education: Who Utilises Alternative Entry Routes to Teaching & How They Compare to Direct Entry Students
Katriona O'Sullivan, Gareth Burns, Niamh Bird

Last modified: 25-06-2019


Recognition of the growing homogeneity of the Irish teaching body (Keane & Heinz, 2016), and increasing awareness of the positive impact a more diverse teaching population have on disadvantaged and diverse students’ educational engagement, has precipitated an Irish policy response which has included funding a university foundation course (FC) which supports students who are underrepresented in teaching, to progress into initial teacher education (ITE).

There is a dearth of empirical research on who is accessing these interventions, and how these students differ from those who ‘usually’ apply to and enter ITE directly. Consequently, in September 2018, twenty FC students and eighteen students from the direct entry group completed an on-line survey in order to compare the demographic make of both groups.

The results of the descriptive analysis indicate that students utilising the ITE FC are more diverse in ethnicity, disability status and academic history, and have greater levels of disadvantage in terms of family history of education and family occupation than those entering ITE directly. These results highlight the value of utilising alternative entry routes to ITE, and their potential to support those disadvantaged and underrepresented to take the initial step into ITE.

Full Text: PDF