Supporting diversity and inclusion in your school – six steps to success

Supporting diversity and inclusion in your school – six steps to success

A commitment to diversity and inclusion can be grounded in, but not limited to, an employer’s responsibilities under equality legislation, currently those enshrined in the Equality Act 2010.

As a school leader, what can you do that goes above and beyond the legal minimum to promote diversity and inclusion at your school? Before you go any further, it’s worth pausing a moment to understand and appreciate what the terms, diversity and inclusion, actually mean, especially in a workplace setting.

Diversity is about each individual in the school; Inclusion is about everyone at the school.

Leadership – support to individuals and to everyone must be authentic; it is not a “box-ticking exercise”. Leadership should be vocal and instil conviction that workplace inclusion can drive stronger performance, and results can drive the cultural shift needed to embed change.

Give an explicit commitment – the commitment could clearly state that the school’s vision is to create an inclusive environment where all individuals are valued and able to succeed, where pupils have a positive experience and where staff believe they work for an employer of choice.

Recruitment, promotion and career development – at times of hiring staff, discerning candidates will want to know and understand, and will be attracted, by your school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. At the same time, check that all staff have equal access to training and other career development opportunities and, finally, check whether there is any need to take appropriate positive action [as permitted by the anti-discrimination legislation] to provide training or support for groups that are underrepresented at the school.

Getting to know the people you lead – ask yourself – is it possible to have open discussions with staff at the school about diversity and inclusion? Are you confident that any concerns would be raised? Assemblies are an effective way to spread the message to pupils; a facilitated session on diversity and inclusion would be a great topic to raise on an INSET day for staff.

Training around appropriate behaviour – you may have a clear expectation that all staff at the school should behave appropriately to one another, but this may not be as clearly understood as you expect. If it isn’t, perhaps some refresher ‘diversity and inclusion’ training might be necessary, that also covers how members of staff should report unacceptable behaviour if they are subject to it, and what they should expect once it has been reported.

Diversity and inclusion – putting this at the heart of the school – only when all members of staff can bring their true selves to work will the school benefit from the best everyone can be.

True cultural change in any organisation takes time and will only be achieved by small, incremental and consistent shifts in practice. As a school leader, you’re the exemplar of behaviour and it is within your control to set the bar for this at your school.

Join us at our Equalities Conference 2022

In September, we’re hosting our Equalities Conference online, putting equality under the microscope and asking ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’.

By shining a light on different aspects of equality through an intersectional approach, this conference will ask tough questions and provide answers in working towards building anti-racist and gender-equal settings; in providing a transparent and honest dialogue for equity of outcomes for all.

Book your ticket here.

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