Home Menu

Equality diversity and inclusion

NAHT’s EDI Strategy 2024-2025

NAHT is dedicated to promoting equality for all of its members, and this commitment is enshrined in NAHT’s constitution. In order to support NAHT in achieving this commitment, we have a union-wide strategy that outlines how we embed equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of our activities.

NAHT’s work in this area, including the progress of our strategy, is overseen by NAHT’s National Executive (via our Diversity and Inclusion Group).

This strategy is centred around three main aspects; these are underpinned by the work NAHT does to empower, upskill and support NAHT staff.

  1. Supporting our members as leaders: As school leaders, NAHT members are ideally positioned to create inclusive learning and working environments for all of their pupils and staff - one which welcomes diversity and champions equality. NAHT recognises the need to support and empower our members to effectively achieve this.

    To achieve this, we have the following core objectives:
  1. Increase our support for members to effectively embed EDI within their own settings. This includes work to:
    1. Maintain our resources hub & develop our own advice and guidance as appropriate
    2. Support members to mark key EDI dates throughout the year (e.g., LGBT+ History month)
    3. Run three free EDI webinars for members, alongside paid EDI training and courses for members
  2. Ensure our campaigning and policy work (in relation to pupils and school staff) explicitly considers and includes equality to achieve our aim of embedding EDI throughout the education system.
    1. Areas of policy focus may include: RSE implementation and/or review, transgender pupil policy for schools, SEND/ALN/SEN sector (including funding and support), refugee pupils, accessibility in assessments and exams, inclusive curriculum and pupil mental health/well-being.
  1. Supporting our members as individuals: We know members with certain protected characteristics face additional and/or specific challenges in their roles. As a trade union, our core purpose is protecting our members, whether proactively (for example, campaigning to remove systemic inequities in the system), or reactively (such as aiding members who are experiencing issues in their workplace, through our representation and/or legal teams).

    To achieve this, we have the following core objectives:
  1. Increase our ability to effectively represent and negotiate on behalf of all members and press forward on wider equality gains in the system. This includes work to:
    1. Increase the training and support for our paid and lay officials to support them in tackling discrimination in their line of work
    2. Improve our monitoring of cases to tackle discrimination in the workplace, and any equality gains achieved as a result
  2. Continue to extend our insight into the challenges faced by school leaders or future school leaders with protected characteristics. This includes work to:
    1. Increase the growth and profile of our equality networks, and explore the need for any further networks
    2. Ensure all key NAHT research (focused on members as individuals) includes demographic questions, and that data analysis is considered from this perspective
  3. Ensure our campaigning and policy influencing explicitly includes equality (in relation to our members) to achieve our aim of embedding EDI throughout the education system
    1. Areas of policy focus may include gender pay gaps, representation within leadership (including renewal of government funding to support this), EDI training in NPQs, flexible working, reasonable adjustments in schools and during inspections, workload and well-being, and mandatory anti-racism training. 
  4. Increase our international presence in relation to EDI issues, recognising that much of the equality legislation and rights of members comes not just from domestic law and conventions, but are part of wider international agreements.
  1. As a democratic organisation: NAHT recognises that we are most effective in representing the views and needs of school leaders when we engage with all of our membership. We are therefore committed to ensuring our own democratic structures are inclusive and reflect the diversity of the educational professionals and learners that we serve.

    To achieve this, we have the following core objectives:
  1. Increase the amount of demographic data we hold in relation to our members and improve our analysis of this data
  2. Increase representation within NAHT’s democratic structures
  3. Continue to empower and upskill our lay officials around EDI issues. This includes work to:
    1. Launch a new regional equality rep pilot
  4. Increase the inclusivity and accessibility of NAHT’s communications
  5. Continue to increase representation in NAHT communications & events. This includes work to
    1. Increase the diversity of members representing NAHT, providing training as appropriate
    2. Development of an EDI comms plan for 2024 and 2025
  6. Increase the inclusivity and accessibility of NAHT’s events. This includes work to:
    1. Develop an online (and hybrid) accessibility policy to support member engagement at online events, guided by input from our Disabled Members' Network
    2. Develop an accessibility policy to support member engagement at in-person events, guided by input from our Disabled Members' Network
  7. Ensure that our policies, processes and/or practices enhance both democratic and general NAHT engagement for all NAHT members and reflect our wider EDI goals/values. This includes work to:
    1. Keep our democratic processes and procedures under regular review, with consideration of EDI as part of any updates and amends

NAHT’s equality networks

NAHT has three informal equality networks for members. These are led by members, for members.

Find out more about our networks, including how to join and planned meetings, by clicking on the links below. 

NAHT's EDI statements

Following a resolution at NAHT Annual Conference, we are developing a series of policy statements outlining NAHT’s views and commitments around equality, diversity and inclusion. These have been developed in conversations with NAHT’s equality networks, our diversity and inclusion group, and our national executive.

Click below to see our EDI statements:

Statements will continue to be reviewed and additional statements may be developed, as led by our membership.

Our statement of action and commitments on EDI in education for 2023/24

In September 2023, NAHT, alongside other key organisations working in the sector, outlined its new actions and commitments to help further equality, diversity and inclusion in education. Find out more and read our statement of action and commitments on EDI in education for 2023/24.


Advice and support

For more about the advice and guidance available from NAHT, along with resources to support members with EDI in their schools, see our EDI hub page.

TUC equality conferences

Every year, the TUC hosts a series of equality conferences that supplement the general work of TUC Congress. These conferences focus on supporting the advancement of issues that disproportionally impact minority groups. Find out more and how NAHT members can get involved.

Latest news and advice

You Are Not Alone

By Troy Jenkinson

I recently listened to Dr Shaun Dellenty presenting with the LGBTed network (a national network of LGBT+ teachers and leaders). He talked passionately about his accidental/unplanned journey throughout his educational career, making changes for the better regarding equality.

I harked back to growing up and starting my career during Section 28 (or Clause 28) - a legislative designation for a series of laws across Britain that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. It was in effect from 1988 to 2003 in England and Wales. In recent training sessions I delivered to a Multi Academy Trust in the north of the country, only a handful of staff had even heard about this debilitating clause to the Local Authority Act, let alone understood its impact on the lives of the LGBTQ community for over two decades and the legacy it’s left.

I reflected upon where my education around LGBTQ relevant topics came from - the television, media, playground gossip… all negative and damaging, initially. My enlightening moment was Russell T. Davies’ “Queer As Folk” with positive queer characters tackling issues facing the LGBTQ community at the time in 1999.

Not once was I formally taught about LGBTQ safe sex, the culture or the positive impact queer pioneers had in sports, science and (social) history. Quite the contrary, I was ridiculed and teachers turned a blind eye (perhaps because they were scared themselves). The lasting impact resulted in me leading a double life; not only as a secondary student where I suppressed my authentic self, but as a fledgling teacher separating my personal and professional lives. Effectively, having to think about how I kept the real me hidden, prevented me from focusing on teaching and being a good role model to students who were potentially questioning, themselves.

My take-away from recent collaborations is “the power of sharing and connection” - sharing stories, making connections with people and learning from one another’s experiences. I resonate with this, as there is a huge power in sharing vulnerabilities and how we effectively deal with them.

I consider myself to be lucky enough to have survived my educational experience and thrived in school leadership, yet I hadn’t considered the true impact that hiding my authenticity had had on my mental health. In October 2022, the toll of these stresses prompted my decision to regain control of my educational journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel privileged to have led three very different schools, affording me the ability to grow and develop as a leader. My final headship taught me a lot about myself. Walking across the playground in those very early days, hearing homophobic slurs being used unchallenged, brought back the traumas of childhood. It galvanised me to become the role model I should have been from the outset and in the process saw me writing my first children’s book: “The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World”. Like Shaun Dellenty’s accidental journey, I fell into the role of author while creating representation for the diverse families at the school.

My stance on antibullying provided my school and I with the opportunity to work alongside a number of supportive individuals, giving rise to sharing my stories with other schools/organisations, leading assemblies/workshops for children and adults alike. Only now do I realise how vital my journey has been to provide positive visibility to empower others to be their authentic selves.

So how is this relevant now? In the current political climate with the rise of hate speech on social media, it is now more than ever that I feel the need to raise my head above the parapet and speak out. I have heard time and again how recent party-political conference speeches echo the historical prejudices towards the queer community that underpinned 1988’s Section 28! The incitement of hatred towards the trans community in potential policy-making is being, and NEEDS to be, challenged by the very UK law passed to make all individuals feel safe and valued.

The Equality Act was introduced by, some might say, a more enlightened government in 2010. The language and rhetoric of prominent voices today is divisive. We should be mindful and stand together. If we allow one minority group to be targeted, we allow inequitable views to take hold and risk the freedoms we have so valiantly fought for, being diminished.

Evidence from Just Like Us (2021), an LGBTQ charity working with children and young people, finds that LGBTQ pupils are far more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than heteronormative counterparts (68% compared to 29%). This increases to 77% in the trans community. This early trauma is long lasting. Indeed, Section 28 continues to influence the lives of many 40–60-year-olds even today with mental health difficulties. It hadn’t occurred to me how I had been subjected to it until I started listening to the powerful stories of others in networks I’ve attended.

Ultimately, I believe providing a voice for all people to feel safe to be who they are, is a safeguarding issue, challenging politicised prejudice and protecting all marginalised groups. It is there in print in “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (2023) and the Equality Act (2010). These documents support leaders when they are challenged about providing support for marginalised groups.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my journey. Only through listening to the journeys of others have I made connections - joined the dots. As Catherine Lee (2020) puts it, LGBTQ leaders have five key attributes in abundance that equip them to be exceptional leaders:

  • those of reading others
  • commitment to inclusion
  • approachability
  • courageous risk takers
  • good managers of uncertainty.

If this blog inspires someone to make sense of their own journey, knowing they are not alone and, maybe take a leap into leadership, I will be thrilled.

Troy is a head teacher and an author.

This blog is the first in a series of articles published as part of NAHT's Celebrating Diversity in Leadership series. Please note that all views contained within series are the authors' own, and do not necessarily reflect NAHT’s broader policy positions and work. Read other blogs in the series.

Use #ImASchoolLeader if you wish to join the discussion on social media about the blog series and the topics raised.

If you’re interested in sharing your own experiences as part of the series, please contact policy@naht.org.uk.

First published 13 November 2023