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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

Consultation on draft non-statutory guidance for schools regarding 'gender-questioning children'

On 19 December 2023, the Department for Education (DfE) released a consultation on draft, non-statutory guidance for schools regarding 'gender-questioning children', which ran until 12 March 2024. Once finalised, the guidance is intended to provide practical advice to help schools and colleges make decisions regarding children who are questioning their gender.

Note that once finalised the non-statutory guidance will apply only to schools in England. Guidance for schools in Wales is also expected but has not yet been published. Northern Ireland's Education Authority published non-statutory guidance in 2019 (updated in 2021)

Until a final response from the government is released, this guidance remains under consultation and is therefore not currently agreed policy. This means that while members may wish to review the draft guidance when considering any approaches, it is important to underline that you do not need to change your current policies at this stage. 

NAHT’s response

Having engaged with members and utilised insight from advice queries we receive from members around this, NAHT has submitted a response to the consultation on behalf of members. However, given the complexities of this and the different contexts that members are in, we also encouraged all members to submit their own responses to the consultation.

Below we outline some of the key principles and concerns that we have on the draft guidance as it is currently written:

  • We continue to believe that there is a need for clear, practical guidance for schools, based on the current law and regulations, and schools’ statutory responsibilities, to aid them in navigating support for ‘transgender and/or gender-questioning’ children and young people
  • At the heart of this is individual children and young people, and schools need to be focused on their core duties, including safeguarding the children in their care
  • Any final guidance should be focused solely on clarifying operational and practical issues, such as access to single-sex spaces and admissions registers. While there are sections in the proposed guidance that reflects this need and do provide a clear line around these requirements and/or duties for schools, this is not consistent throughout. We firmly believe that the guidance should not be the place for any form of ideological debate
  • As such, we do not feel that the draft guidance currently provides all the, much needed, advice to support schools and colleges to meet their duties effectively
  • It should also be noted that any final guidance should provide advice on how schools should navigate the new ‘recommendations’ against a backdrop of support and/or approaches that may have already been implemented.

Our concerns fall into three key areas:

1. Legal and regulatory

a. We are particularly concerned that, as it is currently drafted, aspects of the guidance may leave schools at ‘high risk’ of successful legal challenges. It should go without saying that schools should feel confident that in following, government guidance, they are operating in accordance with the law

b. It is therefore essential that the department release any legal review they receive on the final guidance, and be explicit throughout the guidance, any areas which may, despite best efforts for clarity, remain legally ambiguous, and which may pose a legal risk to schools, in order that they can obtain their own legal advice, if necessary.

2. Safeguarding

a. NAHT agrees that safeguarding should be a core overarching principle

b. However, we believe that the draft guidance includes aspects that appear to conflict with the principles outlined in Keeping children safe in education and the statutory Working together to safeguard children guidance. This is extremely concerning and must be addressed

c. When considering parental engagement, we feel that, as per the DfE’s advice around engaging with parents in relation to RSE, any final guidance should acknowledge that schools know the importance of strong, constructive, and open conversations and relationships with parents in the education and pastoral support of their children; and that this area is no different

d. We would also cite that the principles have already been well articulated as part of the Working together guidance (2023) section 'Principles for working with parents and carers'. Here, parents’ views are a key consideration, but ‘the wishes and feelings of the child and what is in their best interest remain central to decision-making’.

3. Mental health, well-being and external support

a. The government is clear that ‘Good mental health is important for helping children and young people to develop and thrive’ and that ‘Schools and colleges have an important role to play in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils and students’ (Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing)

b. Yet there is no obvious reference within the draft guidance to considerations of the mental health and well-being support that ‘gender-questioning’ children and young people may need

c. We believe that we believe that it is a significant oversight for consideration of the mental health and well-being of children and young people, not to be one of the overarching principles

d. ‘Guidance’ alone is not enough and to be truly effective it must be accompanied by relevant training, support, resources, and funding for schools, and any appropriate support services. 

Finally, it should be recognised that, although this draft guidance is focused on pupils, the narrative and framing of the final guidance may also indirectly impact on staff, leaders, and the wider school community. 

Existing guidance

Read the joint advice for members in maintained schools, academy trusts and academies in England that explores schools’ duties towards their transgender pupils. This was published pending the publication of the new guidance by the DfE and will be reviewed once this has been finalised.

First published 13 March 2024