The Church of England is aiming to double the number of head teachers from UK minority ethnic (UKME) groups by 2027.

According to research by the National Foundation for Educational Research, representation in senior educational positions has decreased in the last few years, confirming that teachers from UKME backgrounds are less likely to progress to senior positions within their schools than their white peers.

Although recent data revealed one in every three students in schools in England are from UKME backgrounds, there are only 400 head teachers from the same background in more than 20,000 schools.

Recent research also showed teacher and school leader representation has a significant impact on students, increasing their likelihood of progressing to higher education and decreasing their exclusion and suspension rates.

Bola-Alysia Ayonrinde, the Church of England’s national education lead for racial justice said: “The research is clear that when children are taught by teachers and leaders who look like them, this is of significant benefit in all aspects of their education. It enables them to flourish.”

Through the ‘Leaders Like Us’ scheme, the Church of England will aim to train more than 450 teachers in the next five years.

The scheme is part of a number of Church of England initiatives particularly aimed at supporting young people and disadvantaged communities.

Ayonrinde continued: “The Church of England is committed to supporting children and adults, and every member of staff in our schools who wants to aspire to leadership should be given the opportunity and support to do so. The evidence is clear that diverse teams are more effective and more creative, and help to create numerous opportunities for both staff and pupils.”