Schools can win £30,000 grants if they hire and promote gay and transgender teachers

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 category also includes sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.

Schools with low numbers of staff who are gay, mature or returning to work after having children, are thought to benefit from the grant, which can provide additional training for promotion.

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.