Initial teacher education, diversity, disability, fitness to teach, social justice
The lack of diversity in the teaching profession is recognised internationally [Schleicher, A. 2014. Equity, Excellence and Inclusiveness in Education: Policy Lessons from around the World. Paris: OECD]. Research shows consistently that teachers from majority socio-economic and ethnic groupings dominate, often in contrast to school populations. While studies in the USA and the UK have shown that teachers with disabilities are significantly under-represented compared to the general population, there has been a dearth of research in this area in Ireland, including in relation to initial teacher education (ITE). Following a review of the literature and an overview of the studys methodology, we present findings exploring 2014 ITE applicants and entrants with respect to their dis/ability status and intersections with other socio-demographic variables based on data gathered in the Diversity in Initial Teacher Education in Ireland national research project, establishing the first national dataset about disability in Irish state-funded ITE. While we identified increases in the proportion of disabled students entering ITE, especially at postgraduate level, applicants with disabilities were significantly less likely to be accepted into undergraduate primary ITE than were those without, and there was considerable variation in the proportions from different categories entering ITE. We end by discussing the significance and implications of our findings in terms of practice, policy, and further research.