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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

Colour and flavour

In my last year of deputy headship, facing falling rolls, gentrification of the local area, dwindling budgets, I felt incredibly helpless, and I knew it was time to start thinking about headship, because I wanted to make a difference.

I have worked in both primary and secondary schools in a range of different roles over the past 18 years, from TA to deputy head. I have led all subjects, behaviour, assessment, and worked in one-form, two-form and three-form size schools. I have been through many an Ofsted inspection. I have taught the most challenging classes, across the key stages – and loved it, from classes of 36 pupils to classes with more SEND pupils than not. I have rewritten a whole school curriculum from scratch in order to disrupt white and euro-centric heteronormative educational narratives and then went on to write a book published by Bloomsbury entitled Time to Shake Up the Curriculum

I am a born and bred south Londoner, a mixed-race queer woman. I represent a number of intersectional identities, all of which are marginalised voices.

Given my experience, I honestly didn’t think it would be as hard as it was to find a head teacher role. Now, this may be due to a number of reasons: maybe I don’t interview well enough, maybe I don’t ‘look’ like a head teacher, maybe against my white peers I am seen as a ‘risk’ – maybe all three reasons. Maybe none. 

In total, I did five interviews. Every job I applied for, I got an interview for … hurray! I had a range of different interview experiences – some great, some not. Prior to my interviews, I did my homework. I trawled through The Key and printed out the sample head teacher questions. I memorised the school values and vision. I reflected on my NPQH training and thought about how my personal values aligned with the school values, and practised talking about it in a way which didn’t seem as rehearsed as it was. 

Interview #1: X-Factor

It started with six of us, and throughout the day candidates were ‘voted off’. We started off with a teaching task – great, I knew I would smash this one! Then data – my favourite – followed by an in-tray task (I love a good letter of complaint!). After lunch, there were two of us left. Got to the end of the day, left the school feeling proud.

My phone rang – I didn’t get it.

Feedback: ‘You just didn’t seem headteacherly enough’.  Quality of feedback: 0/5

Interviews #2 and #3: the sinking ship

I call these interviews the sinking ship because I knew shortly after arriving that I was not experienced enough to take on either of these schools but took the interview for what it was – good practice. Both schools were enormous, both schools were financially unstable, both schools were solidly in the Ofsted window. I was asked questions that I honestly didn’t know how to answer – mainly around budget. At one point, I had to say after a number of prompts from the interviewer (which was kind of them), ‘I’m sorry I don’t know how to answer that’. Obviously, I didn't get offered these jobs, and rightly so. 

Feedback: ‘You need more experience with managing a budget.’ I knew this - but how can I get more experience if I am currently in a Deputy role? Quality of feedback: 1/5

Interview #4: colour and flavour

A wonderful school in east London, looking for someone to champion racial literacy training and diversify their curriculum - great! That’s me! There were four candidates, all deputy heads, all white. If they were looking for someone to champion racial literacy … surely that would be someone from the global majority, right? The interview was tough, I was asked questions about budget, but I felt I answered them better than Interview #2 and #3 – progress. I left with a good feeling. Then my phone rang. I didn’t get it.

Feedback: ‘While we thought you brought colour and flavour to the day, we felt you were not experienced enough’. At best, an extremely clumsy choice of words or at worst a racially inappropriate comment. I didn’t need feedback on my personality thanks, I needed feedback on how to better answer specific questions/tasks. Quality of feedback: 0/5

Interview #5: the one

I had just about given up hope when I did my final interview. This was a beautiful one-form school in South London, and I knew from when I first visited that this was the school for me. The interview was tough, and I was unsure when I left. When I received the offer phonecall, I broke down into tears of happiness (Lord knows what the person on the other end of the phone was thinking!).

What I learned:

  • In the case of interviews, practice does make perfect. I learned a lot about myself through failure
  • Some people may judge you because of how you look, you cannot change those people.  But you can remind yourself that you, fighting for that leadership position, will mean that you can change the hearts and minds of an upcoming generation, and that is powerful
  • Do not apologise for yourself, either in voice, dress or how you hold yourself. You matter, you can do it. If you don’t feel it, act as if you do
  • Seek coaching and support from your peers, don’t be afraid to ask for help and furthermore ask for feedback – hopefully yours will be better than mine!


Sarah Wordlaw is a head teacher and author.

This blog is the second in a series of articles published as part of NAHT's Celebrating Diversity in Leadership series. Please note that all views contained within the series are the author's 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 04 December 2023