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Equality diversity and inclusion

Our commitment 

NAHT is dedicated to promoting equality for all of its members. We aim to achieve sector-wide equal and fair treatment for everyone working and learning in UK schools and equal representation and engagement within our structures and democratic processes.

This commitment is enshrined in NAHT’s constitution, which states NAHT will ‘promote equality for all including through:

  1. Collective bargaining, publicity material and campaigning, representation, union organisation and structure, education and training, organising and recruitment, the provision of all other services and benefits and all other activities.
  2. The union’s own employment practices.
  3. To actively oppose all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic.’

NAHT’s work on equality is overseen by our Diversity and Inclusion Group, a sub-committee of NAHT’s National Executive. The committee meets four times a year to discuss issues relating to diversity and inclusion within the association, the profession and schools themselves. 

NAHT’s work around equality and diversity runs across all areas of the association but centres around three main areas:

1. Schools 

As school leaders, NAHT members are ideally positioned to create inclusive learning and working environments for all their pupils and staff, one which welcomes diversity and champions equality. NAHT supports our members by providing advice and guidance to achieve this.

2. The profession

NAHT is committed to ensuring the education profession (and school leadership in particular) reflects the diversity of the communities and areas that schools work in. This includes establishing inclusive working environments and cultures for staff, lobbying for equal pay for groups with protected characteristics and providing advice and support to members who have experienced discrimination and harassment. As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the diversity at a school leadership level, NAHT has also pledged its own actions and commitments to furthering equality, diversity and inclusion in education for 2021/22. 

3. NAHT

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. We will take all possible steps to promote and encourage the participation of all members in our democratic processes and actively address areas of under-representation.

Our networks

Find out more about or two existing equalities networks below. 

Advice and support

NAHT has several advice resources which support and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. You can access NAHT’s advice here

The association is committed to pursuing, developing and championing equalities and equal opportunities in members’ employment. The association will protect members by challenging unlawful discrimination in employment matters. Further details on how to access support from NAHT can be found here.

While this page sets out the general position to provide helpful guidance to all members, the individual advice that we give may differ at times depending on the particular member’s personal circumstances and the factual position they find themselves in. There are also circumstances where NAHT will be pushing the government to change their position or take a different approach in the future but until that change is achieved, members need to follow the current legislation and the government’s guidance to protect their own position.

We hope members will attempt to go over and above the current legislation and the government’s guidance in their school, where they have the flexibility to do so and become beacons of best practice. This will help make these schools great places to be for all staff and pupils.

Policy and campaigns

NAHT’s policy and campaigning work is centred around five key campaigns, with equality, diversity and inclusion embedded throughout. You can see our latest work and updates on these here.

Resources 

Read 'You are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality', a book from NAHT’s first equality network for Black, Asian and minority ethnic members. 

Download our equality, diversity and inclusion calendar

 

Interested in supporting our diversity and inclusion work?

We welcome and encourage members to become involved in NAHT’s diversity and inclusion work. There are many ways to do this, whether through becoming a union rep, joining our Leaders’ for Race Equality or LGBT+ Network, or representing the union at a TUC Equality Conference.  Interested in supporting our diversity and inclusion work?

If you would like to be more involved, please get in touch by emailing organising@naht.org.uk

Latest news and advice

Transgender Awareness Week: 13-19 November 2021

​Transgender Awareness Week runs from 13 to 19 November and is a one-week celebration leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which memorialises victims of transphobic violence. The week is intended to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

The following resources may be useful:

Members reflect on the importance of the week and share ways they’re marking it in their schools

"I am a senior leader at a primary school in Nottingham and I am a member of the NAHT’s LGBT+ network. To me, it is very important to be an ally to the trans community. As a lesbian school leader, I would not be where I am now without the support of my non-LGBT+ colleagues and I understand the importance of representation in the curriculum and supporting trans members of the school community. 

The fear-mongering panic against the trans community in the media is very concerning and the mental and emotional harm that has on trans colleagues, parents, members of the school community and pupils needs to be a concern for all senior leaders.

When you can see it from a child’s point of view, it changes your perspective. When you have a child in school who wears shorts to school but cannot wait to get home at the end of the day to put on a dress and paint his nails, it makes you think. When you find out he cried all weekend because his best friends had a sleepover and he wasn’t invited because he’s a boy and they’re all girls, it breaks your heart. When you understand that it might be tomorrow, next year, five years’ time, or maybe even never that he can put into words that he thinks he’s been born in the wrong body, you can’t help but hope that the future is kind to him (or her). You hope people are accepting and that all their dreams come true. 

As a senior leader, I am doing what I can this Transgender Awareness Week to ensure that all pupils at my school are accepting of others and grow up to become respectful adults. There are a number of books that can be shared with primary age pupils to support transgender education. Some of my favourites are:

  • A Fox Called Herbert by Margaret Sturton (two-five years)
  • I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings (four-eight years)
  • Red: A Crayons Story by Michael Hall
  • Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love (four-nine years) 
  • George by Alex Gino (nine-12 years) 
  • Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt (nine-12 years)

If you’re not sure where to start with Transgender Awareness Week, start with some books, start with some representation – but please do start."

– ​Helen Richardson, primary school leader

 

"Transgender, like many words in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, has spent far too long whispered in hallways and would never be dreamt of being uttered by a teacher. Not because that teacher wasn't inclusive, not because that teacher didn't know anyone who was trans or even identified as trans themselves, but through fear – fear of saying the wrong thing and offending someone, fear of who might present at the school gate upset, or fear of drawing unnecessary attention on themselves. 

At Brandlehow Primary School we decided that there was nothing to fear and instead celebrated those in our communities who identify as transgender or are curious about their identity. During International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2020, all children from reception to year 6 had an assembly with me to introduce the language of LGBTQ+ in an age-appropriate way.

Reception and Year One classes enjoyed sharing Introducing Teddy by Julia Walton, and explored the themes, predominantly of friendship, but with the subtle undertone of Teddy's transition into Tilly by the end of the story. Unsurprisingly, the children understood and completely accepted the character's identity change. Instead, they asked more about their interests and admired the beautiful illustrations of the book. A refreshing narrative in what matters to children at Brandlehow, and I think in modern Britain – demonstrating beautifully the change in children's thinking and the accepting ethos we have embedded as a community alongside our vibrant and varied community. 

Our older children were taught the definitions of the words that make up LBGT followed by a quiz – naming celebrities, pop stars and famous names using subtle clues about their successes but also, incidentally, that they were either lesbian, bisexual, gay or trans. There were many questions and excitement but interestingly, and most importantly, there was no fear. Questions were asked and answered freely and we all felt safe to just be, and to let others be. A truly special day at Brandlehow. 

After the event, as a gay man myself who had always been careful with my pronouns when discussing my partner 'just in case', I waited. I waited for the email, the phone call, the 'backlash' that we all feared would com,e but it didn't. Nothing. What did come, to my utter joy, were parents stopping me in the playground to thank me, telling me how much their children had enjoyed the story/assembly and parents asking for recommendations of other diverse books. 

We don't currently have a transgender child at Brandlehow Primary School but as a Year 5 child said to me (in the nicest possible way) 'Who'd care if we did?'."

– ​James Lacey, deputy for equality, Brandlehow Primary School, Putney

First published 11 November 2021